The Park Slope Gastronome

Back in Park Slope.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Wednesday at the Greenmarket

Taking a cue from Produce Stories, a list of items purchased last Wednesday at the Union Square Greenmarket.

- one head of hardneck/rocambole garlic from Keith's Farm
- two small flavored yogurts (1 coconut, 1 peach) from Ronnybrook Farm Dairy
- one tub of garlic butter from Ronnybrook Farm Dairy
- one small basket of shallots from the huge produce stand on the West side of the park
- one jar of Windy City Wasabeans from Rick's Picks

I am addicted to these. I love pickled green beans but my experience has been limited to the dilly kind. These are marinated in a soy-based brine with wasabi powder and are super crispy. They don't pack the caliente punch of his Mean Beans, but they do an amazing umami dance in your mouth! I ate too many in one sitting on Sunday and all the salt made my tongue feel funny. If that's the price you gotta pay, then so be it.

After the beans are all gone, my plan is to use the brine to make a batch of Bloody Marys for a potluck brunch I've been threatening to have for months.

Maybe for the PB (whenever and if that ever happens), I'll pick up a slab of Tamarack Hollow Farm bacon. I nearly did so on Wednesday, but didn't have enough cash on me. The other week I was having a post-work snack and drink at Boqueria with my co-worker Samantha and we happened to be sitting at the bar next to Mike Betit who runs the farm and supplies the restaurant with some of its pork products. I've been meaning to pick up some bacon since.

For the record, I had the salt cod brandade and a white anchovy tapas.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Last Night's Dinner: Biscuit

Ok, technically Friday night's dinner. We're a little behind here these days.

Anyway, we had set ourselves up to be mildly surprised by Biscuit, the new Park Slope restaurant in the former Night and Day space that is a resurrection of a simiarly named place that had a short run Flatbush Avenue before closing recently. I didn't love Biscuit, but I do love bbq and like so many others, am desperate for a halfway decent place in the neighborhood.

We started off with a plate of deviled eggs. Deviled eggs are not really hard to make, and make delicious! These deviled eggs were boring. On the dry side and not even close to the ones from S&C's Halloween party which were a million times better! On this menu, they are referred to as Huevos Diablos, which I really couldn't understand. Was it meant to imply spiciness or something Mexican about the recipe? I sure didn't taste it.

I had noshed earlier in the evening at Applewood (dirty onion martini and a shared domestic cheese plate - thumbs up on both, esp. the martini) so I wasn't super hungry. I still went with a quarter rack of ribs with 2 sides - choosing mac and cheese and french fries. I had asked if I could have deviled eggs as my side seeing as how they were the exact same price as ordering a side a la carte, but was denied.

I thought my plate had a generous portion of food. The fries were skin-on and cooked to golden brown perfection - they were the best part of the meal. The mac and cheese was a tad on the bland side (there I go with the salt again), but good enough. A couple of the ribs featured a nubbin of tender meat with a lovely smoke ring but they were also kind of fatty. The meat on the other ribs was sparse and cooked to much lesser success.

Dan went with the Braggin' Rights Brisket sandwich. It came with a side of rough cut slaw which I traded my fries for. I love the slaw, Dan does not. I added a squirt of the house mustard sauce to the slaw for extra tang. As for the brisket, we can both say without hesitation that it was some of the worst either of us had ever eaten. Maybe even the absolute worst. It was grey. It was gnarly. There was nothing worth bragging about this pile of tough, rubbery , flavorless meat. It was awful. How long was it even cooked for? How could they be serving this we wondered. You couldn't even chew through it! Horrible.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I hosted a small ladies' brunch on Saturday!

Over the weekend my good friend Julie Dickover and her mother, Pat, were in town. We had lots of amazing food to eat and were usually accompanied by Youthlarge as well. Just a quick rundown:

Thursday - Dinner at Lil' Frankie's (I had delicious pappardelle in a veal ragu)
Friday - Dinner at Great Jones Cafe (I got a hearty medium rare rib-eye with perfectly seasoned collard greens (wait, SHR, was it kale?), and lots of tasty SHAGGIES!)
Saturday - Dinner at Veselka (I usually get the Deluxe Meat Combination here, but on this visit I decided to try the Beef Stroganoff, which did not disappoint!)

On Saturday afternoon I invited Julie and Pat over for a nice little brunch. I happened to be house sitting for my friend Lauren who lives in the West Ville, so I got up early and went to Citarella and picked up the following items:

- 1/2 dozen large brown organic eggs (I actually popped the hood to see if there were any cracks, which there weren't, but when I got home I realized that there were only FIVE eggs, which I inexplicably missed during my inspection)
- A nice New York State sharp cheddar
- 1 package of turkey bacon
- 1 container of Old Chatham Sheepherding Co. Sheep's Milk Yogurt (Maple)
- 1 container of Woodstock Water Buffalo Yogurt (Black Currant)
- 1 container of Liberte Six Grains Yogurt (Pear - by the way, this one was my favorite)
- 1 medium fruit salad
- 1 pint of raspberries
- 1 bottle of Looza Peach Nectar
- 1 bottle of Red Jacket Orchards Fuji Apple Juice
- 1 rotisserie chicken

Then, I went back to the apartment and cooked up the Yukon Gold potatoes Youthlarge got at the Union Square Farmers Market with the bacon I bought to get ready to make the FRITTATA, to which I added the sharp cheddar. After that, I put out all of the other food I bought at Citarella and just waited for Julie and Pat to arrive with the Prosecco so the Bellini brunch madness could begin!

Suffice it to say, it was GLORIOUS! For anyone who knows me, you can probably imagine that I went a bit overboard on the Bellini front though...


Monday, November 13, 2006

Last Night's Dinner: The Good Fork

Well, that's one down on the to-eat list. I wasn't expecting to be able to cross off The Good Fork any time soon but DMR and I found ourselves at this newish Red Hook restaurant last night with Handbags and Gladragss (aka D. Nelson, Esq.) and Oda. The rain started soon after we sat down at our table in the scruffy covered back patio area (wait, is that a mean thing to say? I'm not trying to be mean, but the patio seemed like a work in progress, not that anyone minded. I was just happy we didn't have to wait.) and the percussive drops against the roof set a nice tone for the evening.

The chef at the Good Fork is Korean-American and so along with dishes like farm-raised chicken with potato-parsnip mash and parpadelle with lamb ragu, the diner can order steak and eggs "Korean-style" which is just brilliant. Koreans have known for a long time that kimchi goes really well with lots of things. The "Korean-style" in this case refers to the kimchi fried rice that adorns the plate alongside a perfectly cooked skirt steak (medium in my case) with a soy (or perhaps balsamic?) reduction and fried egg with a brilliant yellow yolk. Not only is this picture terrible because I took it without the flash on, but the plate was also turned so you can barely see the rice. Around 11 o'clock if you're wondering.

Kimchi fried rice is one of my favorite foods and like any good Korean, I think my mother's version is the best. On visits home back in the day, it's one of three things I'd want to eat (her kimchi jigae and Callahan's being the other two). Nowadays we just eat out whenever we visit so a homecooked plate of kimchi fried rice is rare. This version was a pretty good substitute. It could have used more kimchi pieces in the rice but overall it was really flavorful as the house-made kimchi was at a perfect state of ripeness. But I am getting way ahead of myself because before the entrees, we got some really tasty starters beginning with the bread!

I'm curious to know what bakery the Good Fork gets their bread from. Our first helping was soft and chewy; Dave likened it to a Portuguese roll while it reminded me of a potato roll. The second batch (we devoured the first really, really fast) crusty and a little saltier, but equally tasty. One small detail which I liked a lot: the butter was soft and easily spreadable. What's the point of serving butter if you can't get your knife into it? Dan and I shared the special salad of bitter greens, halved figs, blue cheese and candied walnuts in a lemon vinaigrette and for the entire table we ordered a plate of pork and chive dumplings and the special potato dumplings with braised oxtails. The former came five to an order, encased in a wrapper so thin you could see the filling through it, and accompanied by a small dish of dipping sauce, in which I could have liked a little more vinegar. They brought back memories of the handmade dumplings the Korean PTA ladies at my elementary school would make to sell at fundraisers. The gnocchi could have perhaps benefited from a tad more salt, but overall it was a hearty, stick to your ribs perfect for a rainy day dish that would make a great addition to the menu as an entree. I'd order it with a side of kimchi fried rice. Starch city!

For our mains, Jen also got the steak and eggs K-style, while Dan and Dave both ordered the burger, Dan with cheddar on his. The menu says 8 ounces, but it looked and felt heftier than that. The patty was nestled in between halves of a sturdy but not too dense bun. The bun top reminded me of a portobello mushroom and maybe in a funny way, this as well. Come to think of it, Dave maybe have referred to this bread as Portuguese roll-like. It was definitely spongier than you would have imagined from looking at it. The tangle of divine tempura'ed onion rings that accompany the burger will make you forget about french fries - at least for a little bit. They were gobbled up in minutes so we got an extra side order for the table, which arrived as a heaping mass in a white bowl.

The dessert menu super cute - the size of an oversized ticket folder in half, with "mmm" written on the front. Along with a selection of digestifs were the following three options: Steve's key lime pie, a flourless chocolate cake with creme anglais and rasberry sauce and an apple tart with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. We went with the chocolate cake and apple tart, under the logic of the pie not being house-made and available at Fairway and other points throughout the city. Armed with our spoons, neither dessert had a fighting chance.

We got really friendly service throughout the night and co-owner even followed us out the door to thank us. We'll be back.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Local To Eat List

Marlow and Sons (Williamsburg) - Oysters are $1.25 at designated hours. A dozen or so of those briney wonders plus a couple Moscow Mules sounds like a perfect evening to me.

The Good Fork (Red Hook) - Steak and eggs and kimchi fried rice all on one plate? Must try. Why haven't I already?

Palo Santo (Park Slope)- Ok, not that I know much about running a restaurant, but a sign could really help, especially when you've just opened and are tucked into the ground floor of a brownstone. The place looked wonderfully homey and the staff was super friendly when I peeked in to grab a menu.

Noona (Prospect Heights) - The area finally gets a Korean restaurant and I couldn't be more excited. I hope they'll deliver to Park Slope.

Biscuit (Park Slope) - The early verdict from my bbq-lovin' friends is thumbs down (with the exception of the mac and cheese). I thought the original Biscuit was good, not great. I'm willing to give these guys a try despite their unfortunate tagline of "Authentic Brooklyn BBQ." What does that even mean? The place has been packed to the gills the 4 or 5 times I've walked by since its opening.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Every Holiday Should Be About Food

Celebrating the only way we know how.

(The PSG as Sonya Thomas, patron saint of this blog)