Tag Archives: Specialty Food

SF Best: Bi-Rite Ice Cream Done Right

Bi-Rite Creamery

If people are standing in line for ice cream when it’s 40 degrees outside, you know it must be good. And when I visited Bi-Rite it was 40 degrees outside. But with the mercury shooting well into the 60s on this fine February Friday in NYC, I thought there was no better thing to write about than ice cream. The encouraging words that “the line moves quickly” made me feel only slightly better about our decision to join a long queue of eager scoopers streaming out of the Bi-Rite Creamery and half way down the block behind a red rope. A red rope for ice cream? If it didn’t feel special already, this touch certainly added to the depiction that this was not just any ‘ole ‘scream stand.

After perusing the list of clever creams – roasted banana, chocolate coconut, Ricanelas {cinnamon with snickerdoodles}, I thought I knew my order and was prepared to swiftly answer back when I finally made it to the front of the line. But upon introduction as “a newbie,” the expert behind the counter even more swiftly spun to snatch a silver spoon, upon which he presented his favorite concoction – a trio of blood orange olive oil {literally olive oil, not olive oil flavored ice cream}, hot fudge and honey lavender ice cream. An inordinate heavenly bite that at once confirmed Bi-Rite’s exceptional rank in the nobility of frozen treasured treats.

The skillful scooper quickly handed me three more spoons, each with a single flavor for more sampling which undoubtedly drove me into deeper confusion about what to order.  But in an effort to contribute to “the line moving quickly” I placed my bets and married the roasted banana with the salted caramel {banana’s foster anyone?} and left feeling I probably couldn’t go wrong with any duo and most definitely will wait behind the red rope again.

The Skim: Vanilla may be the most popular ice cream flavor in America, but who wants to do what everyone else is doing? Treat your taste buds to any of Bi-Rite’s craft ice cream creations or go out on a limb and pick a popsicle (how about pineapple with mint}.

Map3692 18th Street
Reservations: Yeah right!
Phone: 415.626.5600

More Scoop Please:
Send Your Valentine an Ice Cream Gram from Milkmade
Under the Bridge, Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory Treat
I Scream, You Scream For MilkMade Handcrafted Ice Cream

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Filed under Eat Here!, SF Best

8.ate@eight Cupid Just in Time with Valentine’s Day Gift and Dinner Ideas

♥ Text Me ♥ Recipe 4 Love ♥ Table 4 Two ♥ Be Mine ♥ Cool Cat

You’ve found that special someone who likes long walks on the beach too, but you’re late to the game planning Valentine’s Day? Never fear, if you’re in need of some good inspiration to show your love, here a list of a few of my favorite ideas — whether you’re looking for a romantic night in, a unique meal out or a gift of food that is the way to your love’s heart.

♥ Labor of  Love With Your Own Hands ♥

Cocktail Kick-Off: Fireside Sparks {Champagne Cocktail a la Tippling Bros.}
When In Doubt, Roast a Chicken: Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken
Spice it Up: Crispy Cayenne Roasted Potatoes
Bourbon and Flames to Heat Things Up: Alton Brown’s Bourbon Banana’s Foster
Bedtime Snack: Cinnamon Sugar & Dark Cocoa Almonds
Breakfast in Bed:
How To Cook The Perfect Sunny Side-Up Egg w/ Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits

More 8.ate@eight Recipes HERE

♥ Wine & Dine ♥

10s Across the Board: The Art of Eating {and Drinking} Well @ L’Artusi
An Aphrodisiac’s Evening: Lovin’ Me Some Oysters @Mermaid Oyster Bar
Interactive Eating: Love, Love Shabu Shabu: Fun to Say and Eat
Butt. ‘Nough Said: Momofuku That Pork Butt is Good!
Slurping is Sexy: NYC Ramen Wars: Ippudo vs. momofuku noodle bar
Smoked Meat is Sexier: 18 Meat Dishes for Men & BBQ Heaven @Fette Sau
Cozy and Romantic: August in April
Single and Looking for Love: Wilfie & Nell: Not Your Grandpa’s Watering Hole

More 8.ate@eight Favor8 Restaurants HERE

♥ Gifts A Dozen Times Better Than Roses ♥

Ice Cream Gram: Send Your Valentine an Ice Cream Gram from Milkmade
A Gift to Warm the Soul: Blue Bottle Coffee Brews One Brilliant Cup at a Time
Artisanal Meats, Cheeses & Chocolates! Artisanal Specialty Foods Digested
Cheese & Wine Classes: Do This!: Artisanal Premium Cheese & Wine Classes

♥ Text Me ♥ Recipe 4 Love ♥ Table 4 Two ♥ Be Mine ♥ Cool Cat

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

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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Filed under Do This!, NYC Best

Winter Fancy Food Show: San Fran Specialties Digested

There were no shortage of snacks to sample at the specialty food show in San Fran this weekend. Much like the Summer show I attended in New York, the spread ranged from candies, cheeses, chocolates and coffee to fine meats and preserves from over 1,300 exhibiting food producers from around the world.

Straight off the flight from the Big Apple, I made my way to the food show, with an empty stomach and press badge in hand to see what new discoveries could be found and to pay a visit to a few favorites I savored last time.

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My Favorite Specialty Foodies and What to Love:

Bella Cucina {Salts, Spreads, Oils and Preserves from Atlanta}

The packaging will catch your eye immediately – beautifully jarred and labeled, these products will delight any gift recipient and your kitchen counter alike {hence the name}. More importantly I sampled several of what’s inside Bella Cucina’s jars – aromatic savory salts, artichoke lemon spread {their best seller accounting for 17% of all sales}, mint pistachio pesto, roasted sweet peppers grown especially for Bella Cucina – and wished I could buy several of them on the spot. As someone who can appreciate unique flavor combinations and beautiful packaging, Bella Cucina won me over immediately.

Justin’s {All Natural Nut Butters from Boulder}

I love peanut butter period. But give me a spoon of chocolate hazelnut butter, honey peanut butter or maple almond butter and you have just upped the ante on a simple snack time favorite. I always loved the day my mom made me a peanut butter and honey sandwich for lunch, so it just makes sense to bring these flavor combos together in one jar, except it’s not always in a jar. Justin’s sources high quality organic California nuts and has brilliantly packaged their product both in a jar and in a squeeze packet to take these delights on the road. I think it’s time to move your old friend Skippy aside for a spread or squeeze of Justin’s premier PB product.

Poco Dolce {Chocolate from San Fran}

So much chocolate in this world – is it possible to create a new and BETTER chocolate? Apparently yes. I was guided through aisles of food booths to Poco Dolce with assurance that these chocolates were the best around. I concur. With flavors like burnt caramel, sesame toffee tiles {winner of a sofi Gold award}, and super chile, owner, Kathy Wiley, elevates chocolate squares to new levels exciting your taste buds with both sweet and savory flavor combinations. Also try her toffee squares — bite sized toffee covered in bittersweet chocolate. If you’re not an SF local, fear not, see here for places to get your hands on those bites.

Fra’Mani Handcrafted Foods {Artisanal Cured Meats from Berkley}

Just take a look at the picture of this beautiful mosaic of head cheese.  And beside this well-photographed delicacy, Fra’Mani was generously tasting a range of their other flavorful cured meat products – little ham, rosemary ham, roasted turkey galantine. Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching – why not replace those roses with a fragrant bouquet of artisanal cured meats? It’s the way to say I love you in 2011.

Beehive Cheese Co. {Handcrafted Cheese from Utah}

I first had Beehive’s Barely Buzzed by chance when it was paired with a wine at a tasting up in Livermore, CA. The cheddar cheese is hand rubbed with a Turkish grind of Colorado Legacy Coffee Company’s, lavender buds and olive oil, which makes your head spin in delight — perfectly named I would say. At the time we were with a group of eight people, who were all commenting more on the cheese than the wine and we made note of what we were sampling in an effort to find this delightful slice again. Previously it was not easy to come by, but distribution has expanded to many Whole Foods Markets, so next time you are rolling down the aisle looking for an exciting addition to your cheese plate, pick up Barely Buzzed for a deep caramel flavor or Big John’s Cajun Rubbed for something with a little kick.

Creminelli Fine Meats {Artisanal Cured Meats from Salt Lake City}

I first discovered Creminelli at the New York Wine & Food Festival in October. With a glass of cabernet in one hand, I sampled some of their finest salumi – lacy thin cut mortadella, hot sopresata, dark & rich wild boar sausage and their award-winning Barolo-infused salumi {winner of this year’s Good Food awards). So imagine my delight to stumble upon them next to the Beehive Cheese Co. Good cheese & meats hanging out together {both from Utah} – all I needed was a glass of vino and a comfy chair to make my day.

Kicking Horse Coffee {Coffee from Canada}

One of my all-time favorite coffee producers of the year – if you haven’t tried it, you must. Not a new discovery for me, but I had to stop by to say hello and for a quick cup of joe to rejuvenate my jetlagged, sampled-out self.

  • Great Brew: most importantly, this cup of joe was delicious {and just what I needed after a lot of walking, talking and sampling}. It’s just making its way down from our friendly northern neighbor, so check their website for a retail store near you.
  • Great People: Buying only Fair Trade coffee, the company supports its farmers, regardless of the world market. As the largest cash crop in the world, this really does make a Kicking impact.
  • Cool Names: Kick Ass {dark}, Three Sisters {medium}, 454 Horsepower {dark}, Z-Wrangler {medium}, Decaf {dark}, Cliff Hanger Espresso {medium}. Clever coffee, what’s not to love.
  • Cool Packaging: 100% recycled cans {surprisingly most coffee cans are not fully recyclable — yeah, that little plastic top is no bueno}. Black cans with primary color tops catch the eye and look cool hangin’ out next to your coffee maker.

The Skim: If you haven’t caught on to the specialty food trends, then wake up and smell the artisanal hand-pressed coffee. 63% of American consumers purchased specialty food in 2010, up from 46% in 2009 and farmers markets have grown to become the fourth most significant source of specialty foods. Knowing where your food comes from and passionate support for the creativity and handcrafted quality that goes into small scale specialty foods, is driving the emergence of new food entrepreneurs to historic levels.  Mark your calendars, the Summer Fancy Food Show will be held in Washington D.C. July 10-12, 2011.

Dolled Up Delicacies:
Summer Fancy Food Show: Full Belly and Learnings Digestion
Del Posto Presents Murray’s Cheese & Salumi Wine Party @NYCWFF
Give Your Monday Morning Mug a Kick in the Pants with Kicking Horse Coffee
Le Grand Fooding ‘Twas A Grand Yummy Evening
New York City Wine & Food Festival Kicked Off With Good Eats


Filed under Do This!, Travel Bite

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


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

Do This!: Eataly is Big Box Batali


Eataly Grocery: Jams, Honeys, Coffee, Chocolate...and More!

We may not have a Wal-Mart or SuperTarget in NYC, but we do have Eataly, a new take on Molto Mario that brings both imported and locally sourced artisanal Italian products to Manhattanites {and the droves of tourists lined up around the corner} in a very big way. Housed inside the old Toy Building, Eataly is grocery marketplace, coffee bar, food court, culinary classroom and a headache all under one roof. Don’t get me wrong, I love Eataly and everything it’s about, but if you thought making your way through the aisles of Fairway was bad, then prepare yourself for patience-testing as you navigate through awe-struck photogs, non-english speaking patrons and hour-long waiting periods for a table. I’ve been to Eataly twice since it opened and the best advice I can share: plan to cook Eataly-bought ingredients at home, or be willing to eat during the early bird special. I did both, so here’s the experience relived.

Walk in and bypass the Lavazza coffee bar, which will inevitably have a long line because it is right by the front door. Not far past that long line you will discover another very slick walk-up coffee bar with a large and shiny imported coffee machine that not only looks cool, but makes a mean cup of Giuseppe.

Walk Up Coffee Bar

What goes better with un cafe than beautifully decadent desserts?

Italian Pastries and Sweets

Puglian Style Mozzarella!

But after you’ve sampled a taste of Italy, make your way to my favorite part of the store, the salumi and formaggi section. Here, the best of Italian food craft is married with locally-sourced ingredients, to bring you fresh cuts of meat and cheeses, including handmade mozzarella, literally made before your very eyes. If you chat with Sal for a bit, he might even share some warm mozz right from the pot!

Sal, Your New Cheese Friend

Grab some fresh produce, which I thought all looked very nice and was reasonably priced. If you’re not one who wields a knife with ease, then pay a visit to the brilliant vegetable butcher, who will wash, clean and prep your veg in any way you would like. Why oh why has no one done this before?!?

Eataly's Fresh Produce

Vegetable Butcher -- Your Other New Friend

As if this isn’t impressive enough, as you walk deeper into the brightly lit concrete walls of this Italian megastore, you soon stumble upon another brilliant display of fresh pasta — cut, twirled and presented in a myriad of ways to make cooking fresh pasta at home, not only easy, but exciting. And if you want to really go over the top with your squid ink tagliatelle, then you can also buy white truffles at $3,400 / lb, or the more affordable black truffle for $420 / lb {what a steal!}

Eataly Fresh Pasta Counter

Want to stock up on some dried pasta for those cold winter nights? Eataly has at least 6 rows of pasta in various shapes and sizes.

Pasta di gragnano

Of course if you’re willing to wait, or eat lunch at 11:30 like we did, I highly recommend snagging a seat at one of the ristorantes to taste what all this Italian Artisanal goodness is really about. We opted for the pizza-pasta section, because it was hard not too after all the amazing s’ghetti we walked by. The meal did not disappoint. Neapolitan style pizza, simple spaghetti al pomodoro and the best dish of all, fusilli al ragu with a blend of veal, pork and beef bolognese. DE-LISH.

Wood Burning Pizza Ovens

Spaghetti al Pomodoro

Fusilli al Ragu

The Skim: Patience is a necessity when making an Eataly excursion, but you will be rewarded in every bite — whether you stop for a quick coffee fix, to stock up on the makings of your own homemade feast or successfully snag a seat for an in-store bite. Grocery must: At $3.80 for a ball of fresh mozzarella, it’s not only creamy goodness, but a steal! Menu must: Fusilli al Ragu is molto molto buono!

Map: 200 Fifth Ave {@5th Ave}

The Real Deal Italiano:
Del Posto Presents Murray’s Cheese & Salumi Wine Party @NYCWFF
The Art of Eating {and Drinking} Well @ L’Artusi
Aria Sings a Harmonious West Village Wine Bar
Travel Bite: Puglia on a Plate


Filed under Do This!, Eat Here!

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

Chelsea Market After Dark

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

Alton Brown Sock Puppet Blue Print

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

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

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

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

Know Your Beef

A True Chemist

Taste Buds Dissected

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

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

The Lobster Place Shuckin' Oysters

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

Pure Food and Wine Pinot Noir Pepper Tarts

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

Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip and Mudslide Cookies

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

Dickensons Farmstand Meats Line Awaiting Pulled Pork Sliders

DFM Pulled Pork Sliders

Yum! ‘nough said.

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

Map: 75 9th Avenue @ Chelsea Market

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

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Filed under Do This!, Eat Here!, NYC Best

Brooklyn Fare Fares Well, Earning 2 Michelin Stars

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

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

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

Starting out with a shot of Lemon Verbena Foam

And A Bite Sized Parmesan Macaroon

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

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

Fresh Oysters w/ Sea Water Film

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

Parmesan Foam, Shaved Lemon Zest and Truffles

And a lighter Hamachi Crudo w/ Soy and Lime

Hamachi w/ Soy and Lime

Finished Product

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

Laying the Avocado Foundation

And then the Crab Roll

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Dory with Veal Jus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

NY Craft Beer Week, Get Your Goggles On

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

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

Crafting Crowd

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

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

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

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

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

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

Betty Brooklyn: Deviled Eggs

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

Mama O's: Kimchi Chili and Salsa

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

Orwasher's Artisan Rustic Beer Breads

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


Filed under Do This!, {Drink Me}

Le Grand Fooding ‘Twas A Grand Yummy Evening

Foodies, NY-ers and SF-loyalists alike made their way to MoMA PS1 in Long Island City on Friday, for what was to be a food face-off of epic proportions {all in the name of charity of course}. After David Chang, of the Momofuku empire, dropped a comment that “fuckin’ every restaurant in San Francisco is just serving figs on a plate with nothing on it. Do something with your food,” San Francisco-based chefs packed their knives and headed east to prove otherwise.

Le Grand Fooding

As a 3-block long line of eager eaters made their way through the entrance, they were handed four tickets good for a glass of Veuve, Cotes du Rhone red wine and two Belvedere Vodka cocktails concocted by drink masters, Jim Meehan of Please Don’t Tell {NYC} and Erick Castro from Rickhouse {SF} to enjoy alongside a selection of tastings prepared by notable chefs themselves under nothing more than pop up tents and the stars.

As far as the cocktails go, Jim Meehan won this face-off hands down. Using the new line of Belvedere Citrus, he shook up what he called the Park Side Fizz, a blend of Vodka, Orgeat {a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar and orange- flower water}, Lemon, Fresh Mint and Soda. It was refreshing, not too sweet and went down all too easily, as I painfully discovered the next morning.

Park Side Fizz, Jim Meehan, Please Don't Tell

With drinks in hand we patiently lined up to try as many of the food stations as we could. With a large crowd and real-time food prep, some of the lines were longer than ideal, but this made a winning dish that much more of a satisfying bite. Here’s the scoop…

Le Grand Fooding @ MoMA PS1

Laurence Jossel, Nopa {SF} — Grilled Pork Shoulder Loin {aka Country Rib} with Early Girl Tomato Jam on Toast won my vote for Best Dish of the Evening!! Marinated for 4 hours, then slowly grilled for 35 minutes, this pork was full of flavor and tender on its own, but the sensory scales were quickly tipped by the most amazingly sweet, vinegary tomato jam that had hints of ginger and lovingly topped the stack of crostini and pork. I loved this dish so much I waited in line three times and am strongly considering booking a flight to SF to pay homage to a man who could create such a delicacy.

“I feel like I’m gonna go hug them for making something so delicious” — overheard @ Le Grand Fooding

Grilling Up Some Pork Shoulder, Nopa

Nopa Tomato Jam and a Classic T-Shirt

Best Dish of the Night: Grilled Pork Shoulder with Tomato Jam, Nopa

David Sclarow, Pizza Moto {Brooklyn} — Grilled Pizza with Ricotta, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Lemon, Sea Salt and Basil. So simple, but with that list of fresh ingredients it was well worth the wait, especially since they were pairing it with a glass of generously poured red wine.

David Sclarow of Pizza Moto

Pizza Prep

David Chang, má pêche {NY} — Bodega Granola. A play on yogurt granola cups sold at corner delis, the bodega granola walks a fine line between sweet and savory, constructed from walnut granola topped with beet reduction tapioca, goat cheese foam, beet chips and greens.

Bodega Granola, ma peche

Mario Carbone & Rich Torrisi, Torrisi {NY} — Pickle Salad New Yorkese. This was one of the most unique dishes of the evening, with a nod to traditional deli items, the salad of cucumber and pickle slices was topped with corned lambs tongue and dressed with a a mustard-red vinegar dressing. Probably not the first thing I would normally order, but somehow it just worked.

Pickle Salad New Yorkese, Torrisi

The word on the street is the Tennessee-style fried chicken by Robert Newton, Seersucker {NY} was outstanding, but I didn’t wait in the hour-long line to confirm for myself. I’m guessing the wait confirms it though.

All in all, a great evening that raised a lot of money for Action Against Hunger, brought more awareness to a number of all ready notable chefs and restaurants and provided a great venue for social noshing and imbibing under the lights of New York.

Le Grand Foodies

Looking for More to DO!?:
Do This!: First Ever Puglia Wine Week
Do This!: EAT DRINK LOCAL week
Do This!: A Taste of What to Expect @ Artisanal Premium Cheese Classes

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Filed under Do This!, NYC Best, SF Best, Travel Bite

Do This!: EAT DRINK LOCAL week

Second Annual EAT DRINK LOCAL week
Brought to you by edible magazines and GrowNYC
September 26-October 6, 2010

This harvest-time celebration of the local food chain, in collaboration with Edible magazines across the empire State, celebrates the restaurants, wine shops and wineries, breweries and beer bars, farms and food artisans, cheesemakers, bakers and everyone who feeds us.

Co-produced by Edible magazines and GrowNYC, the aim is threefold:

  1. To raise awareness about the bounty of products grown in the region.
  2. To drive customers to the restaurants and other businesses that support local food and drink
  3. To raise funds for a charitable partner dedicated to promoting regional agriculture.

Some major events planned during the week:

  • September 23. An Amish style heirloom vegetable auction to be held at Sotheby’s
  • September 25. A Long Island wine auction.
  • September 27. The Edible Institute at the New School, a public discourse on urban food issues.
  • October 6. The annual, unforgettable, Taste of Greenmarket.
  • Throughout the week. Edible programming at the New York Botanical Garden.
  • Throughout the summer, the Union Square and Grand Army Plaza Greenmarkets will feature cooking demos from partner chefs, New York wine pourings and other happenings.

Find out more HERE

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NYC Best: Source Your Spices and Specialty Foods @ Sahadi’s

Sahadis Specialty Store

Sometimes there are just certain items you aren’t going to find at your local bodega and you aren’t going to find at your local grocery store, no matter how high end. When you walk into a shop like Sahadi’s, you quickly realize it’s like a candy store for foodies. Colorful and stacked high with jars and vats and packages displaying specialty spices, olive oils, cheeses, prepared foods, among other things that catch your eye and beckon you to grab a basket and start “treating” yourself. Of course a lot of items are from the middle east, so for a girl who is part Lebanese, this IS my candy store, with items that I can only find on rare occasions.

Inside Sahadis Market

But there is something for everyone here. The center of the front room is packed with coffees, dried fruits, nuts, spices, candies, olive oils and more, including a side bar full of olives and pickled everything {even garlic!}.

Sahadis Dried Fruit and Nuts

As you make your way to the back, you enter the room where smells of freshly baked breads and pastries are wafting through the air. A large selection of prepared salads, meat, spinach or veggie pies, hummus, baba ghannouj and lebne {traditional middle eastern yogurt spread} are on display and in many cases come in a variety of flavors that had me frozen with indecision. But you can order a sampling of as much as you would like, so don’t be shy — try anything that looks or sounds interesting.

Sahadi Lebne Variety

So if you are looking to make an excursion in search of some supremely fine specialty foods from the Middle East, you only have to travel as far as Brooklyn to gather your bounty. Sahadi’s is worth the trip, even if only to peruse the shelves or snag a free olive, but I guarantee you will not leave there empty handed — there are just too many delicious treats to leave behind.

Map: 187 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn

Specialty Foods are Special:
Going Back to the Old Country @ The New Yasmeen Bakery
Barney Greengrass: Long Live the Sturgeon King
Summer Fancy Food Show: Full Belly and Learnings Digestion

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Filed under Do This!, NYC Best

Crop to Cup Creating Quality Community Coffee

Crop to Cup Coffee

Bike stop #2: Brooklyn’s Crop to Cup. We had only just finished breakfast and certainly weren’t yet in need of a caffeine pick-me-up, but couldn’t resist a stop in this quaint coffee cafe where brick walls and unmatched chairs welcome you to stop and enjoy a different kind of joe.

Crop to Cup‘s mission is to support the coffee family farmer community beyond what you can expect from Fair Trade brews, employing what they call their “20, 5, 10” program. What that means is farmers receive 20% over market price for their coffee, plus 5% of their coffee’s selling price in coffee consuming communities, plus 10% of company profits. Why should you care? Coffee farmers sell into an open market. They sell to Crop to Cup because they pay higher prices and higher prices encourages farmers to work their farms with more care and commitment creating premium quality coffee that you will no doubt taste in your cup.

There is certainly no shortage of coffee cans on the market, but why not try one that is better for you and the family farmer community. Click here to meet the family faces behind your crop and here to find C2C coffee near you. Good Coffee comes from Good People.

Crop to Cup Coffee, Brooklyn: 139 Atlantic Ave {btw Henry & Clinton St}

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee:
Give Your Monday Morning Mug a Kick in the Pants with Kicking Horse Coffee
Summer Fancy Food Show: Full Belly and Learnings Digestion
recipe goodness :: how to cook the perfect sunny side-up egg
Community Food & Juice: Fresh & Fantastic Fare

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Filed under {Drink Me}

Do This!: Le Grand Fooding 2010 New York vs. San Francisco

It all started with an off the cuff comment by king of the Momofuku empire, David Chang, “Fuckin’ every restaurant in San Francisco is just serving figs on a plate with nothing on it. Do something with your food.” Not surprisingly, the comment was picked up across the media circuit, spread like a California forest fire and without hesitation the San Francisco culinary scene was shooting back. And so was born a culinary face-off of epic proportions {all in the name of charity of course}: Le Grand Fooding 2010 New York vs. San Francisco.

For $50 you can snatch a ticket to Le Grand Yummy either on September 24th or 25th, which includes 1 flute of Veuve Clicquot Champagne, 1 Rhône Valley wine & pizza pairing, and 1 Belvedere Experience and a whole lotta yummy fooding prepared by a long list of noteworthy NY and SF-based chefs. All proceeds go to support Action Against Hunger.

Where: MoMa PS1 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City
What: September 24th Fooding Menu
September 25th Fooding Menu
How: Buy Tickets Now {$50}!
Why: Because when can you ever eat and drink
at one of these restaurants for less than $50! And it’s for charity!

More About…
David Chang: Momofuku That Pork Butt is Good!
Pizza Moto: NYC Best: Summer Sausage & Other Seriously Good Eats @ Summerstage

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Filed under Do This!, Eat Here!, NYC Best

Gone Fishin’ :: Back in a Week…

Farewell Bachelorhood!

As I referenced in a previous post, I’m off in San Francisco to be the best groom’s girl I can be in my brother’s wedding this weekend. Jackie, my soon-to-be sister-in-law, works for Ghirardelli. She’s pretty darn sweet as a person, but it also doesn’t hurt that she brings a dowry consisting of a lifetime supply of chocolate. Welcome to the family!

I’m sure I will have no shortage of things to blog about upon my return — I promise it will be more interesting than a post about rice and will include musings from Napa. In the meantime, visit some old favorites…

Make A Delicious Dinner For Friends:
Kickin’ Ancho Chili Fresh Citrus Margarita
Avocado & Tropical Fruit Salsa
Orzo, Spinach & Feta Summer Salad
Whole-Grain Mustard & Rosemary Pork Chops
Grilled Thyme-Cumin Vegetable Kabobs
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake with BBQ’d Summer Berries {bottom of post}
More Recipes >>> EAT@HOME

Keep Busy in the City:
Do This!: Artisanal Premium Cheese & Wine Classes w/ Jessica Wurwarg
Greenmarket: Put Smarter, Cheaper & More Scrumptious Food on Your Table
NYC Best: Summer Sausage & Other Seriously Good Eats @ Summerstage
NYC Best: Take the Dull Out Of Cooking {Knives} with Samurai Sharpening @ Chelsea Market

Enjoy a Cold One in the Garden:
Not so Standard Biergarten
Mission Dolores {Accomplished}: Great New Brooklyn Beer Garden
Nothing says Warm Weather Like a “Gut Biergarten”

And in the Spirit of Weddings, Go on a Date!:
Summer Lovin’ Me Some Oysters @Mermaid Oyster Bar
Highlands Highlights: Scottish Plaids, Pub Fare and Hand Crafted Cocktails
The Red Cat: Comfortable Quarters & Cuisine
Love, Love Shabu Shabu: Fun to Say and Eat
August in April
Bocca di Bacco: I say PotaTO, You say PoTATo
barmarche: Some Clever Crudites

Eat Up!

Sibling Fun in Tokyo


Filed under Do This!

I Scream, You Scream For MilkMade Handcrafted Ice Cream

MilkMade Homemade Black Currant and Gingersnap Ice Cream

It all started with a purchase of an ice cream maker, a small East Village kitchen and two friends trying to churn out their love for ice cream with their own two hands for kicks. Using nothing but premium, local ingredients sourced from farmers at the NYC greenmarket and a touch of inspiration from seasonal flavors and dining experiences, Diana Hardeman and Michelle Truong, quickly went from being just roommates with a taste for scoops of ‘scream to business partners and co-founders of MilkMade. Once these two milk maids started sharing some of their handcrafted treats with friends, it wasn’t long before many were clamoring for more creamy creations. A shared scoop became a request for a pint became a featured dessert at dinner parties and then suddenly they were getting coverage in local publications and a new business was born. I sat down with Diana last week and she shared not only some scrumptious ‘scream, but the ups and downs of being a small artisan food purveyor in NYC. Here’s the scoop:

First things first, the ice cream goodness. After a long and hot bike ride down to the East Village, this was a welcomed treat for a girl whose body temperature had risen a couple of degrees. Each month MilkMade creates two featured flavors from which their ‘scream subscribers get to choose. For August the churned choices are Black Currant with Chunks of Homemade Gingersnap Cookies or Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie. Black Currant with Gingersnap — two flavors I have never used in my own kitchen, let alone thought of as a perfect match, but let me tell you it was a prized pairing. The fresh tartness of the currants, mellowed out by the creaminess of the ice cream is smooth and delicious on its own, but then you get a crispy chunk of the cookie with the ginger spice and you think, something about this just works — it’s refreshing, it’s rich and it’s something I’ve never tasted before!

So how do you try some for yourself? Well you used to be able to sample at the Greenpoint Food Market, but due to a string of bureaucratic city health regulations, the market was forced to close until all its vendors could find a certified kitchen to operate from along with a range of permits and certificates — all of which can be prohibitively expensive for start-up artisanal food purveyors who barely break even while selling at the market. Lucky for us, MilkMade also has a membership-based subscription option, where those fortunate enough to get off the wait-list can get a pint hand-delivered to their door each month. The ice cream is so fresh, the ingredients are bought, churned and delivered to you within a 2-3 day window. The cost of this unique experience? $50 for 3 pints of ice cream. {!!!}. Expensive, yes, but when you consider the costs I referenced at the beginning of this ‘graph, the fact that this premium treat is hand made in small batches with high quality ingredients from farms such as Ronnybrook Dairy Farm and Knoll Crest, and hand delivered to you by the founders themselves — well, you can’t buy that kind of quality and experience in the freezer section.

Of course for those of you who are lucky enough to grab a seat at a future 8.ate@eight Supper Club, you may just get a sampling of this special treat, but in the meantime, give a gift to yourself or a well-deserving friend and sign-up to put something more exciting in your freezer than a late-night frozen pizza or bag of peas.

Screaming for More?
Why Buy the Cow, When You Can Get the Milkshake for Free?
Greenmarket: Put Smarter, Cheaper & More Scrumptious Food on Your Table
Michael Pollan Agreed With Me, $8 Eggs Are A Good Idea

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Give Your Monday Morning Mug a Kick in the Pants with Kicking Horse Coffee

Kicking Horse Fresh Roasted Coffee Beans

Coffee is very romantic to me. There is something so soothing about waking up, with one leg still in a slumber and the other making its way toward the coffee maker. Opening the can and getting that first concentrated smell of beans that puffs out when the lid is lifted. Scoop, scoop, scoop. Grinder rattles the beans into a fine grind and then the cold water starts to drip through the coffee machine, creating an aroma of morning magic. And with a steaming, big handled mug gently gripped — the kind you can comfortably fit four fingers in — I settle on the couch and enjoy each sip of the rich, earthy goodness that starts my day with a comforting warmth {and caffeine kick}.

More than 50% of Americans drink coffee daily and as often as 3-4 times per day, which means we’re consuming more than 350 million cups of coffee a day. That sounds less romantic and more like a statistic on caffeine addicts. We’re a nation of convenient $4/cup coffee consumers who like to walk into the chain coffee counters and order our grande, skinny mochachinos with whipped cream to go. But what if you diverted that $4 towards a can of really kick-ass coffee — would that change the way you kicked-off your day?

You may remember when I wrote about my discovery of Kicking Horse Coffee at the Fancy Food Show a month ago. Lost in rows of food purveyors and low in energy, I stumbled up on their booth and a new love. My new friends at Kicking Horse Coffee were good enough to send me a can to enjoy from the comfort of my couch, and with that steaming cup in hand I want to spread the love, convert you all, and get you excited by the fact that our northern neighbors are now distributing this kickin’ craft blend in America. Here’s the scoop:

Kicking Horse Coffee Three Sisters Blend

Shakespearean Love:
I’m a sucker for creativity. Name your coffee blends something like Kick-Ass, 454 Horse Power or Cliff Hanger Espresso and you’ve not only gotten your point across, but gotten me really excited to try something that sounds more like a fun excursion than just another plain ole cup of joe. The trio of peaks known as the Three Sisters are just outside of Banff National Park near Canmore, Alberta. It is among the most photographed vistas in the Canadian Rockies and the blend I’m sipping right now pays homage to it with a triple punch of light, medium and dark roasts of Indonesian, Central and South American beans.

Quality Stands on its own Four Feet:
Beyond the name, this coffee stands strongly on its own four feet. Focused on roasting and packaging small batches daily and selling only whole beans, Kicking Horse Coffee ensures premium quality and freshness is maintained from can to cup — it’s no wonder they are outselling all other brands in Canadian grocery stores {including Starbucks!} My Three Sisters blend is a brew with a medium roast, but bold aroma and flavor that is smooth and conveys creamy, chocolately characteristics. With 17 different varieties to choose from, there is undoubtedly a brew to suit your tastes. Another cup please!

Horse with a Heart:
Kicking Horse Coffee is committed  to sustainability — through community and environmental initiatives and responsible business practices.

  • Certified Fair Trade — the company supports its farmers, regardless of the world market, which means paying fair prices and following fair labor, environmental and quality standards. As the largest cash crop in the world, this really does make a Kicking impact.
  • Certified Organic — farmers who grow coffee organically use renewable resources, conserving soil and water to sustain the environment for future generations. They protect human health by avoiding pollutants, pesticides and herbicides. And they create an ecosystem that’s healthy for wildlife and birds.
  • Sustainability — coffee blends come in cool black cans with primary color tops which catch the eye and look cool hangin’ out next to your coffee maker. But more importantly, they are North-American-made from recycled steel and can be recycled after use. Cans are the most recycled container in the world and that means less in the landfill. Recycled steel uses 75% less energy to reproduce and can be recycled an infinite amount of times — that means you might see your can again…as a coffee maker!

The only thing left to say, is you must try it yourself! You can find it on Amazon or in a growing number of grocery stores in select states — click HERE to find a location near you and start brewing.

“Life is too short to start drinking the wrong cup of coffee”
— Kicking Horse Coffee

{tips on how to brew a kick ass cup at home}

  1. Grind — Grind just before use and use just enough beans for the coffee you’re making. The grind size should be between .75 mm and 1 mm. If the grind is too coarse it will make the coffee taste weak. If the grind is too fine, it will make the coffee taste bitter or too strong.
  2. Water — Water makes up 99% of a cup of coffee. If your tap water tastes good to drink, it’s good to make coffee with. Use it cold and freshly drawn from the tap.
  3. Measurements — The suggested proportion is two heaping tablespoons for every ¾ cup of coffee. More if you’re bold, less if you’re not..
  4. Timing {french press} — The brewing, or ‘contact’ time, should be 4 to 4½ minutes. Check the grounds after brewing. Has all the coffee come in contact with the water? Are there any dry grounds of coffee? Your cup’s final optimum temperature is 140-162°F.
  5. Storage — Coffee absorbs odors and deteriorates when it contacts air. Keep your coffee tightly rolled in its valve bag or sealed in its can until you’re ready to refill the grinder. Store in a dry, cool location, but not in the fridge or freezer.
  6. Enjoy!

Looking for More Specialty Food Discoveries?
Summer Fancy Food Show: Full Belly and Learnings Digestion
Do This!: A Taste of What to Expect @ Artisanal Premium Cheese Classes
Do This!: Vote for The Chocolate Gallery Cafe for Best Breakfast
Going Back to the Old Country @ The New Yasmeen Bakery
recipe goodness :: gourmet grillin’ with white truffle corn


Filed under @home {recipes to love}, {Drink Me}

recipe goodness :: gourmet grillin’ with white truffle corn

White Truffle Grilled Corn

Fresh corn is one of the most abundant agricultural products we have in America and as such, it is also one of the more cost-effective items to buy and grill. Depending on where you shop, you can usually get multiple ears for $1! When it’s mid-summer you can get some extremely sweet and juicy varieties that don’t take much effort to enjoy on their own, but if you’re looking for a gourmet twist on an otherwise simple grill favorite, try this recipe and be prepared for friends to ask for seconds.

Gourmet Grilled White Truffle Corn

Prep Time: 1 Minute | Cook Time: 10 Minutes

1 Ear of corn per person
1 bottle of white truffle oil for brushing
1 jar of white truffle salt for seasoning
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Preheat grill to high heat. Completely remove corn husk and hairs. Pour a a small amount of white truffle oil in a pyrex dish {you can always add more, but you don’t want to waste this premium product!} Cut small pieces of foil just big enough to completely wrap each ear of corn separately. Lay the first ear of corn on the foil and brush all sides with the white truffle oil {note: you could substitute with extra virgin olive oil or soft butter if you don’t want to invest in both truffle products}. Season all sides of the corn with white truffle salt sprinkling while you turn. To finish crank some fresh black pepper on all sides of the corn. Wrap entirely with foil and place on the grill for 3 minutes. Rotate 1/3 and cook for another 3 minutes and then rotate the final 1/3 and cook for the last 3-4 minutes. Remove from grill, grab some napkins and enjoy!

Looking For Other Farm Fresh Inspiration?
Orzo, Spinach & Feta Summer Salad
Grilled Thyme-Cumin Vegetable Kabobs
Whole-Grain Mustard & Rosemary Pork Chops
Creole Roasted Fresh Corn-Tomato Salsa


Filed under @home {recipes to love}

Summer Fancy Food Show: Full Belly and Learnings Digestion

You don’t have to call it “fancy” to get me to go to a specialty food show featuring 2,400 artisanal food purveyors from around the world, each exhibiting a wide range of products, including coffee, cheeses, handmade chocolates, premium olive oils and other delicious treats {sounds like breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert to me}. With press badge in hand, I headed to the United Nations of food exhibitors and wandered up and down aisles labeled Africa, India, Italy, Syria, Greece, New York and just about every other corner of the Earth. I spent the day sampling, chatting and taking notes at NAFTA’s Fancy Food Show — so much to eat and so much to share, but I’ll try to give you the best nibbles to digest.

sofi Awards Outstanding New Products:

More important than just showing off their products, these specialty foodies enter their goods for a chance to win in various sofi award categories, considered the highest honor in the specialty food industry. Gold Winners are announced at a red-carpet ceremony hosted by chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill Restaurant and receive a gold statue to proudly display at their booth, slightly reminiscent of an Oscar in a chef’s hat. Check out the hottest new specialty food products here, all nominated for a 2010 sofi {winners in each category have a gold box around the image}.

2010 Big Trends:

  • Sweet & Savory — salt & pepper chocolate; toasted almonds w/ truffle salt, peach rosemary jam
  • Indian is IN — chai, cashew, tandoori
  • Fall Flavors — sweet potato butter, chocolate, chips
  • Fig is Big — fig compote, balsamic, crisps
  • Superfruits — kombucha berry, hibiscus, acai

My Favorite Specialty Foodies and What to Love:

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Kicking Horse Coffee {Coffee from Canada}

  • Great Brew: most importantly, this cup of joe was delicious {and just what I needed after a lot of walking, talking and sampling}. It’s just making its way down from our friendly northern neighbor, so check their website for a retail store near you.
  • Great People: Buying only Fair Trade coffee, the company supports its farmers, regardless of the world market. As the largest cash crop in the world, this really does make a Kicking impact.
  • Cool Names: Kick Ass {dark}, Three Sisters {medium}, 454 Horsepower {dark}, Z-Wrangler {medium}, Decaf {dark}, Cliff Hanger Espresso {medium}. Clever coffee, what’s not to love.
  • Cool Packaging: 100% recycled cans {surprisingly most coffee cans are not fully recyclable — yeah, that little plastic top is no bueno}. Black cans with primary color tops catch the eye and look cool hangin’ out next to your coffee maker.

Vermont Creamery {cheese & butter from Vermont}
All the cheese I tasted was DE-LIC-IOUS, but let me tell you about a little cheese called Double-Cream Cremont.  Cremont is a mixed-milk cheese combining local fresh cows’ milk, goats’ milk and a hint of Vermont cream. It is luscious and should be on your next cheese platter or just pick it up for a mid-week treat. Try pairing it with a crisp white wine or Belgian Ale.

Rogue Creamery {cheese from Oregon}
Award winning blue cheeses ranging from sweet to smoky flavors. I sampled several and loved them all. These blues are a great punch to any cheese platter and pair really well with Rogue stouts and ales or a sweet dessert port.

Cypress Grove {cheese from Cali}
Long before the Fancy Food Show, Cypress Grove’s Humbolt Fog was on my top 3 list and often made an appearance on any cheese platter I threw together. Today I sampled several delicious sister cheeses, but one that stood out was the Truffle Tremor. That’s right, truffle+goat cheese = earthy, creamy goodness {quite worthy of a tremor}. Try it! Plus these clever friends made a wedding cake out of cheese! I only wish my picture turned out better so I could share…but check out an image here.

NEWTREE {chocolate from Belgium}
Fresh, unique extracts for well-being; playful product names; a medley of flavors to tempt your mood.  The premium chocolate not only tastes good and leaves a lasting impact on your taste buds, but with flavors such as pink peppercorn, ginger and lavender and descriptors such as sexy, tranquility and eternity, these bars offer a unique experience. NEWTREE also replaces a lot of the refined sugar with other fiber to lower the sugar content by 30% compared to average levels.

Anette’s Chocolates {chocolate from Napa, Cali}
Combining beer, wine, brandy, bourbon with chocolate and brittles, Anette’s puts together some pretty unique and delightful confectionary wonders. My favorite: Firey Beer with Spanish Peanut Brittle. These guys have been winning awards for their brittles since 2004, so they must be doing something right!

Sweet Marguerites {chocolate from Maine}
A small operation does not mean small in flavor. These little artisanal chocolate gems were such a treat it’s hard to pick a favorite, but with unique flavors such as Sweet Potato Caramel, Malted Bacon or Fleur de Sel, filled with dark caramel and macadamia nuts, you can be sure anyone receiving these as a gift would not be disappointed.

Food Should Taste Good {salty snacks from Massachusetts}
Forget the chips that leave your fingers orange, Food Should Taste Good is the fastest-growing natural salted snack brand in America and rightly so. With flavors such as The Works!, Jalapeno, Cheddar, Olive, Sweet Potato, Blue Corn, Multigrain, Lime and Chocolate, there are a variety of bags to suit your taste. And with all natural ingredients that you can pronounce, these chips provide a healthier way of snacking. P.S. they are also gluten free, cholesterol free and low in sodium, but you would never know it by how they taste…GOOD.

Rick’s Picks {Pickles from NY}
You may have already heard of these guys who are taking the pickle world by storm, but with creative minds they just keep coming out with new and exciting sweet, savory and spicy pickle combos. Launched this week, a new spicy crinkle-cut pickle chip called Hotties is brined in a blend of sriracha, dried habanero and minced garlic. After winning 2 sofis in 2009, it’s clear Rick’s Picks knows a thing or two about pickling and would be a welcomed addition to your next BBQ.

The Skim: For just a $35 entrance fee, you don’t need to be a professional to gain access and enjoy all the sampling from thousands of specialty food purveyors. The event lasts three full days, which is probably necessary to avoid a belly ache and make the most of all the goodness worth trying. And even if you already know some of the brands, many of them are launching new flavors or product lines at the show, so you’ll be the first to sample and be in the know of cutting edge food trends. If you couldn’t make it this year, put January 16th {in SF}, or July 10th, 2011 {in D.C.} on your calendar.

Want to Learn About More Artisanal Cheeses?
Do This!: A Taste of What to Expect @ Artisanal Premium Cheese Classes


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Do This!: Artisanal Premium Cheese & Wine Classes w/ Jessica Wurwarg

If you were unable to grab a seat at the next 8.ate@eight supper club, fear not, you can still cut the cheese with expert Jessica Wurwarg. Jessica will be teaching 3 fantastic classes at The Artisanal Premium Cheese Center during the week following our supper club dinner.

For a limited time enter promotional code SEAT upon checkout and you can grab two seats for $99 total {original retail value of $75 per person}. Sounds like a perfect evening for a date or night out with a good friend!

Monday, June 14th @ 6:30-8:30pm

Thursday, June 17th @ 6:30-8:30pm

Saturday, June 19th @ 3:00-5:00pm

The Artisanal Premium Cheese Center 483 Tenth Ave, 2nd floor, NY, NY 10018.
Please call Verna at 212-871-3141 for reservations

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Barney Greengrass: Long Live the Sturgeon King

Barney Greengrass

After 100 years in business, it’s obvious that Barney Greengrass has mastered the way to New Yorkers’ hearts through supernal plates of smoked sturgeon, lox, bagels with a side of fresh attitude. You haven’t been to a true NY Jewish deli until you wait in line to be seated at closely packed ‘historical’ formica tables and are ‘welcomed’ by fast talking, fast moving waiters in white whose shtick may make you wonder why you waited. But then you scan the long menu of fresh smoked fish, bagels, bialys, scrambled eggs & onions, and the dining experience all comes together through a gleeful feeling that you are about to experience tradition that is all too rare in a city that prides itself on being home to many of the next up-and-coming restaurants.

“The cuisine at this Upper West Side delicatessen is one of the greatest gifts Jewish Culture has brought to mankind since the ten commandments.” — The New Yorker

The Skim: Pack your bags and make another worthwhile eating excursion to the Upper West Side. Let’s hope the Sturgeon King is around for another 100 years, but just in case it’s not, you might want to make sure you get as much of this little piece of history as you can now. {541 Amsterdam, btw 86th & 87th}

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8.ate@eight #1: Silencing of the Spring Lambs was Lambtastic!

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What can I say, the inaugural 8.ate@eight supper club was lambtastic! Perfect weather (mid-70s) and perfect company set the scene for a great evening of fresh, hand-prepared food, deliciously paired wine and good conversation shared amongst new and old friends. Here’s the scoop >>>

Naerim, my friend and French Culinary Institute-trained pastry chef, showed up around 11am to start throwing around some cake flour and gettin’ down to business preparing her superbly delicious Panna Cotta Tartlets with Balsamic Strawberries. Meanwhile, the prosecco was chillin’ and I was chopping, grinding and whizzing away to to get all the elements together for each course of the meal, organized to complement our post-dinner flick, Silence of the Lambs.

The Menu:

Minted Fava Bean & Spring Pea Puree with Fresh Italian Ricotta on Garlic Rubbed Toasts
w/ Fresh Squeezed Blood Orange Mimosas

Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Pancetta Vinaigrette, Michigan Dried Cherries & Candied Pecans
w/ 2008 Domaine Dupeuble Pere et Fils Beaujolais

Pistachio encrusted Spring Lamb with Cumin Yogurt & Pickled Red Onion
w/ 2001 Cataregia Gran Reserva

Panna Cotta Tartlets w/ Balsamic Strawberries

Silence of the Lambs

Everyone grabbed a Fresh Blood Orange Mimosa, introduced themselves and settled in for some good food and drinks.

Fresh Blood Oranges Being Squeezed for Blood Orange Mimosas

Fava Bean and Pea Puree

Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Pancetta Vinaigrette, Dried Michigan Cherries and Candied Pecans

While the salad was being served, we were off in the kitchen orchestrating all the elements of the entrée. The lamb (and Jessica’s sea bass) was encrusted with a spice blend of thyme, chilli pepper, cumin, lemon zest and pistachios, pan-seared and finished in the oven. Each was topped with freshly pickled red onions and a cumin yogurt sauce. The white asparagus was steamed and topped with a melted smashed mint, lemon butter sauce. Pans were flying and the kitchen mercury was rising as we had all the burners fired at once, but with the help of Naerim, we got everything cooked and plated before anyone pulled a Hannibal Lector.

Pistachio Spring Lamb w/ Cumin Yogurt & Pickled Red Onion; White Asparagus w/ Smashed Mint & Lemon Butter

After the plates were cleared, we rolled the movie, opened more wine and Naerim got to work finishing dessert.

Naerim Plating Dessert

Panna Cotta Tartlets w/ Balsamic Strawberries

Hannibal Lector showed up for a bite too.

Hannibal Lector Shows Up After Dinner

Click here to see the full album.


I want to thank Naerim for preparing such a beautiful and delicious dessert and for all the help in getting the 8.ate@eight-ers fed. Thanks to Kristin for snapping some candids while I was off in the kitchen and for doing dishes late night {tisk tisk!!} And I of course want to thank everyone who grabbed a seat at the table — it was lovely to have you all!

Our next dinner will be announced shortly {very shortly} so if you aren’t on the list, email me at 8ateateight@gmail.com. See you at the table!

Recipe Goodness:

Pistachio-Encrusted Spring Lamb w/ Pickled Red Onions & Cumin Yogurt Sauce

Serves 4

12 lamb chops, ~ 1 1/2 inches thick
2 TBS fresh thyme
1 TBS ground chilli pepper
1 TBS ground cumin
2 TBS fresh lemon zest
Salt & Pepper
1 Cup shelled pistachio nuts

Pickled Red Onion:
1 red onion
1 lemon
Salt & pepper to taste

1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp cumin
Salt & pepper to taste

Thinly slice the red onion and put into a container that will seal. Pour the juice of one lemon over the onion, add a dash of salt and a crank or two of black pepper. Set the container in the fridge for at least 2 hours. The lemon juice will pickle the onion and soften the flavor for a nice addition to your chops.

In another bowl add the 1/2 tsp of cumin, salt and pepper to the yogurt and stir thoroughly. Set aside.

Meanwhile, mix all the dry spices and lemon zest in a bowl. In a zip lock, smash the shelled pistachios to smaller bits that will stick easily to your lamb. Pour the nuts into a separate bowl. Lightly drizzle a little olive oil over the lamb chops and gently press each side of the chops first in the spice bowl and then in the pistachio bowl, making sure both sides are generously covered in pistachios.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large oven safe pan on the stove {no need to add olive oil as the fat from the lamb will be enough to cook the chops}. Add all the of chops to the pan and push firmly down to create a good sear. Cook for 2 minutes, flip and put the pan into the oven for 4 minutes. {Note: If you don’t have an oven safe pan, you can preheat a cookie sheet in the oven and transfer the chops to the sheet to finish}.

To serve, top the lamb chops with a few rings of the pickled red onion and a drizzle of the cumin yogurt. Enjoy!


Filed under 8.ate@eight, @home {recipes to love}, Do This!

Why Buy the Cow, When You Can Get the Milkshake for Free?

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Thanks to the renovation of the High Line, Chelsea Market is abuzz more than ever. Over the past two years a lot of great new purveyors of local and artisan food products have claimed a spot in the market to appeal to professional and casual foodies alike. One of my favorite shops is the Ronnybrook Milk Bar, which is both a great place to pick up some premium organic dairy products, as well as a fun place to grab a bite to eat. With milk crate-stacked walls and pull-handle glass front refrigerators showcasing Ronnybrook’s old-fashioned glass bottled milk, the food bar has the feeling of being run right from the farm. The glass bottles aren’t the only thing old-fashioned about Ronnybrook though — the farm prides itself on producing “beyond organic” local products from a herd of grass-fed, free range cows that are hormone and pesticide free, just as farming used to be.

“Our cows’ health is more important to us than the label.”

The Milk Bar’s menu goes beyond their udderly delicious creamline milk, with items such as the Free Range Roast Chicken sandwich with spicy aioli, avocado on a baguette or the homemade Hummus with warm pita, tahini, mushrooms, olive oil and pickles. But don’t fret, you will not leave without enjoying the creamy goodness of the Ronnybrook Farm. Before we even ordered we were presented with an ‘amuse bouche’ single shot of a super premium vanilla milkshake — a delightful and unexpected surprise! But it didn’t stop there — midway through my chicken sammie, our server brought us another shot of a chocolate milkshake, followed by a third shot at the end of the meal of an apple milkshake {not my favorite}. If they weren’t so generous with the free milkshakes, I might have been tempted to order some ice cream for a post-lunch treat, but as the title says…

The Skim: …Or The Creamline — know where your food comes from. You don’t have to be a hemp-wearing, tree-hugging hippy to understand the benefits of chemical-free, locally produced sustenance. If you haven’t given Ronnybrook a try, stop in for a bite to eat at the Milk Bar and nab some free samples — maybe then you’ll fall in love with the creamy goodness. {Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave.}

Check out other Chelsea Market Good Eats:
NYC Best: Falafel @ Ruthy’s

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Going Back to the Old Country @ The New Yasmeen Bakery

Hot, Oven-Fresh Meat and Spinach Pies

I’ve never been to Lebanon, but fortunately Dearborn, MI, which is only about 20 minutes from where I grew up, is home to the largest Lebanese population outside of Lebanon. That means deliciously authentic and fresh Lebanese treats are never too far away and always on the agenda when I make a trip home to Michigan. If you’re inspired by the newest Miss USA, Lebanese-American Rima Fakih, or just want to try some of the best Lebanese baked goods I have ever had, you don’t have to get on a plane to get onboard.

While you can’t enjoy the piping hot meat or spinach pies that come out fresh from the wood burning ovens, you can place an order for some of Dearborn’s New Yasmeen Bakery specialties online, including their fresh pita bread {this is the real stuff people, not the thick dry pita you find at the grocery store} or sweet baked goods, like Baklava or Date Maamoul. Of course if you happen to be traveling to the Detroit area, I highly recommend a trip to the bakery to pick up those meat/spinach pies or some hummus that comes out so smooth and creamy, it’s hard to be convinced its made only from chick peas, lemon, garlic and tahini. Or pick up some fresh za’atar bread for something truly unique {hot oven-fresh flat bread topped with olive oil and za’atar spice which is a combination of dried thyme, oregano, marjaram and toasted sesame seeds}. At the very least, check out New Yasmeen’s website to learn about the legend of how this amazing bakery came to be, or just for a few laughs if you watch the brief cartoon of a camel teaching you how authentic pita bread is made {watch here}. Whatever it takes!

The Skim: Having a difficult time finding better hummus than pre-packed Sabra at your local grocery store? Visiting Detroit and looking for good local eats? It may seem like a stretch on your culinary palate, but you will not be disappointed by the amazing Lebanese food coming out of the New Yasmeen Bakery. {13900 W. Warren, Dearborn, MI 48126}

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