celebrating the glories of eating in brooklyn. from the gut.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Where to Get Summer Oysters: Time Out

For cheap Summer oysters head to Williamsburg's Spike Hill, according to Time Out:

Fridays is for cheap mollusks at Spike Hill (184 Bedford Ave at North 7th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 718-218-9737), with Blue Points and littleneck clams going for $1 each 5–8pm. Get there early; the place fills up quickly.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Little Progress on the Home Front

I get asked quite often how the house is coming along. Painfully slow is usually how I respond. The best thing I can report on right now is how beautifully the wood is turning out after the stain and varnish has been removed. I really liked the dark stain, but over the years people kept adding more and more stain making it uneven and there was a lot of paint splattered all over. Now that it's stripped it looks practically brand new. We also now have a half bath on the parlour floor. I love the little corner sink, but I don't like the faucet I got. I need to exchange it, but for the time being it does the trick. Here are some photos:

Fireplace details.

Windows with some old stain left.

A good before and after shot of the built in cabinetry.

Some shots of the corner sink with the faucet I don't like. Also, we reused the paneling from the kitchen in the half bath. I like the way it turned out. Looks like it's always been there. We used the traditional white hexagonal tiles on the floor and I'm going to wallpaper (gasp).

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Promising Malaysian in Sunset Park: Village Voice

From the Village Voice:
Belachan's massive menu might be described as Sino-Malaysian, since it includes all sorts of regional Chinese fare—not only the adapted dishes brought to the archipelago centuries ago by Chinese immigrants now known as Nonya ("grandma") cuisine, but also ones found in neighborhood Cantonese greasy spoons in America. These are offered, I'm certain, as a palliative for the tables of Chinese diners who frequent the place. But this Chinese orientation can be a tremendous advantage: Belachan turns out the city's best Hainanese chicken, a dish named after an island in China's southernmost province. The big bird is slow-poached in pork broth, rendering it plump and tender, and arrives at your table awash in a light soy sauce festively decorated with cukes and scallions. The straightforward cooking method allows the bird's quintessential chicken-ness to shine. You've never had fresher tasting poultry.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Make Reservations at Zagat.com

Using the Opentable interface, Zagat announced today that you can now book tables via their site. Just click on the table and chair icon on the restaurant's page. One more weapon to fight for a reservation in New York.

I realize posting has been light lately. I've been so preoccupied with other stuff lately, but promise to catch up soon.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Thinking Outside the Avocado

I have no kitchen right now. I'm in the middle of a renovation and my kitchen is gutted. I haven't had a kitchen in quite some time. I long for the day when home cooking doesn't mean nuking a frozen meal and I can brew a pot of coffee. Until then, Whole Foods is my new best friend. So even after stuffing my face at Whole Foods' Indian food bar last night, I couldn't resist trying lacoyo, a specialty from Puebla, Mexico.

Juan is the amazing carpenter from Puebla who along with his crew gutted my kitchen and is starting to bring it back to life. Last night we met in a central location for a cash hand-off. Before dropping me off at my house he took me to his place set against the backdrop of the fabled Greenwood Cemetery. Little did I know what was in store.

Olga, Juan's sister, had been busy prepping the lacoyo at the tin-foil covered stove top in their small basement apartment painted an unfortunate shade of pink. She formed corn tortilla in the palms of her hands like it was her second nature and pounded the avocado tree leaves in a stone mortar and pestle. After forming the cornmeal flour into patties, she stuffed them with a combination of the crushed avocado tree leaves and black beans. Olga then fried them on a dry griddle on the stove top. They reminded me of the El Salvadorean pupusa. We devoured them with a homemade spicy salsa and sour cream. I was also excited to be eating an authentic and homemade Pueblan meal. They were simple and delicious.

I love guacamole as much as anybody. Not being an expert in regional Mexican foods, I had never thought of cooking with the avocado tree leaves. Once dried they resembled large bay leaves and imparted and deep warm flavor to the lacoyo.

I've learned in Latino households that "No, thank you" is rarely accepted. "Would you like some water?" "No, thank you. I'm fine" means you will get a glass of water. The hospitality is second to none. So who was I to refuse these stuffed morsels even after my own dinner? And just as Olga couldn't let any edible part of the avocado tree go to waste, neither could I.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

San Pellegrino's Best Restaurants of 2007

Some interesting results in San Pellegrino's survey of the world's best restaurants. New York doesn't really make an impressive showing. These are the top ten:

1. El Bulli Spain
2. The Fat Duck U.K.
3. Pierre Gagnaire France
4. The French Laundry U.S.
5. Tetsuya's Australia
6. Bras France
7. Mugaritz Spain
8. Le Louis XV Monaco
9. Per Se U.S.
10. Arzak Spain

Thursday, April 26, 2007

More on the Brooklyn BBQ Front

Robert Sietsema of the Village Voice gives Williamsburg's Fette Sau a mixed review.
The brisket can be spectacular, sliced thick and rimmed with crisp fat. The pork short ribs ($11 half rack, $22 full rack) are tasty, but a bit dry and hammy due to oversmoking. One evening, shredded lamb was a big hit with my crew; it was fragrant with the odor of pasturage. Sometimes—according to the chalkboard menu, which promises more than it can deliver—there are baseball-bat beef ribs, which I didn't get to try. The pork sausages are smoky and greasy, but too chunky inside for my taste.

Fette Sau is brought to us by the same owners as Spuyten Duyvil, which I just love. They have an incredible beer selection.

In other BBQ news, Flatbush Farm is having two barbecue events this Saturday and Sunday featuring grilled clams, barbecue chicken wings, spare ribs and pulled pork sandwiches with a DJ spinning tunes.