The Park Slope Gastronome

Back in Park Slope.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

This Week's Eating Highlights

It's been a long time, so here's a quick highlight reel from the past week:

Tuesday - Lunch at Tom's Restaurant with Sudmann and Betten in the midst of apartment hunting. Sudmann and I shared the crabcakes and eggs (over easy) and the chicken cutlet platter. Everything was delicious at this old school Brooklyn haunt, but the crabcakes were especially tasty. The only sucky thing about this place is that it is not open on Sunday, despite serving the most Sundayish food ever! Sudmann and I treated Betten to lunch, but now we sort of want our money back.

Thursday - Lunch with Mike W. at Green Bo. This is one of my two Chinatown staples (the other being Great Neck). They have tasty soup dumplings, though not as good as Joe's, and really inexpensive 'over rice' dishes for about $4.00 a pop. M and I shared an order of crab and pork soup dumplings, stewed beef over rice and pork chops over rice. The pork chops come with spinach and a really yummy diced up bean curd sauce. Oh, and Mike also got the spring rolls, which were surprisingly HORRIBLE.

Friday - After signing our new lease, Sudmann and I strolled over to Cafe Steinhof for lunch. I've only been once before, but I really like this place. Youthlarge, Guido Gonzalez and I came here a couple of years ago for my birthday and we saw Steve Buscemi a few tables over from us eating $5.00 gulash! I ended up ordering two eggs over easy with smoked pork loin, roasted potatoes and salad. Not only was it delicious, but I was in combo-bite Heaven...

For dinner I met up with Youthlarge for some more soup dumpling action at Joe's Shanghai. We were both starving, so YL let me be in charge of ordering. Naturally, we started with an order of crab and pork soup dumplings (the best in the City, though often the topic of many heated debates in my circle of friends). Let me just say that soup dumplings are not only explosively delectable, but they are also great hangover food. For any poor souls out there who have yet to experience the amazingness that is the soup dumpling, you are really missing out. If you want, I will eat some with you, but please, NO touching! Anyway, after we gobbled down our little steamed friends, we moved on to salt and pepper shrimp with the shells off (always perfectly crispy with just the right hint of jalapeno spice) and Shanghai pan-fried noodles. These noodles are divine. They're basically super thick homemade lo mein noodles with strips of pork and some sort of green vegetable. I'm never sure if it's spinach or shredded bok choy, despite the fact that they don't really taste the same at all. Regardless, it's seriously tasty!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Yesterday and Today's Breakfast: 'wichcraft / Our Daily Bread

Has it been over a week since we've written? It's been a little tough between computers dying, avoiding being laid off and apartment hunting. The good news is that yours truly still has her job and the CLC signed a lease on a new apartment yesterday. The news is that I'm on an IBM at work now, which I'm really not a fan of, especially since the H key sticks.

So yesterday I was craving an egg sandwich, but not a run of the mill one from the corner deli. I had recently ordered from 'wichcraft (see the previous entry) and was tantalized by a couple of their breakfast offerings, most prominently, the egg, frisee, bleu cheese and bacon on ciabatta. Holy cow, what a wonderful mix of deliciousness! It was a fantastic sandwich, though I could have maybe done without the frisee as I'm not much of a fan of warm lettuces since the heat causes them to wilt. I loved that the egg must have been cooked in a ringmold and though the yolks were hard, there was that spot of darker yellow in the center which I just love. It's the moment right before the yolks completely solidify which leaves them a bit moist and not as crumbly. Along with my breakfast, I ordered a lentil soup to eat later for lunch. I wasn't expecting a mostly pureed soup, but man, was it tasty. The broth was rich and tangy and there were bits of lentils and their outer skins. Unlike most people, I like the texture of legume and vegetable skins (chickpeas, tomatos, etc...). I don't know why.

For breakfast this morning, I hit the wonderful greenmarket in Union Square Park and picked up a cheddar and green onion scone at the Our Daily Bread stand. I've been eyeing this scone for some time since it's among the few savory breakfast options at the market. At $1.25, it's a great bargain and alternative to sweet breads. The dough is studded with cheddar shreds that have retained their shape in the heat, as well as finely cut rings of scallion. It took me two and a half hours to finish the scone, and that was even with my coworker taking a piece of it!


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Today's Lunch: 'wichcraft

I like Tom Colicchio even though sometimes he came off rather assy on Top Chef. I've never eaten at any of his culinary ventures which is surprising considering I love sandwiches. Not that he's all about sandwiches, but sandwiches are what I'm all about! The ordering system is a little too techy for little ol' fashioned-me. It's all automated via the interweb and a co-worker who dared to order via the phone once never got his food!

Today was definitely a soup kind of day, but just soup is never enough for me, unless it's something hearty like an Asian noodle soup. So I went with a ham, butter and avocado baguette to go along with my potato soup. The website insisted it was potato-cheddar, but I didn't really taste any cheese at all. Didn't matter cause it was super tasty and I loved the pair of rosemary breadsticks it came with. My sandwich was lightly toasted on a panini grill so that the bread was crusty but not too sharp as to cut te roof of your mouth. I am a very big fan of rusticy Frenchie sandwiches like this as long as the ingredients are of good quality, as they were here. I would have been fine with just ham on a buttered baguette but the avocado was in nice creamy contrast with the saltiness of the ham.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Sunday Brunch: ici

On 9/19/06, The Park Slope Gastronome wrote:
Let's talk about our brunch on Sunday at ici in Fort Greene. I was
very disappointed.

On Sep 19, 2006, at 3:53 PM, The China-Latina Chowhound wrote:
> Sunji,
> In addition to feeling disappointed, I felt hurt and saddened. Hurt
> because my silverware was SCALDING HOT as a result of all the backyard
> sun, sans the all-important umbrella protection most establishments
> afford their patrons. And saddened because brunch is supposed to be
> delicious, as well as a good value. This was neither. In fairness,
> the shirred eggs with prosciutto and collard greens were tasty, but
> they were way overcooked, hence NOT delicious. Also, it was just too
> expensive for what it was.
> Beth

On 9/19/06, The Park Slope Gastronome wrote:
>>I'm still in shock our shirred eggs did not come with any sort of side.
>>For $11, I expected a few nubbins of potato or a couple chunks of
>>melon (though I know you would have been disappointed by the latter,
>>being the starchy sort). There were a few highlights, such as the
>>teapot of coffee, excellent touch. As much as I love Liquors down the
>>street, they don't own a proper coffee maker and thus coffee is served
>>as Cafe American with no refills. But that doesn't atone for LOSAB
>>(lack of sides at brunch).
>>Suzy J

On Sep 19, 2006, at 4:36 PM, The China-Latina Chowhound wrote:
>>>S-ey J,
>>>The lack of sides was nothing if not offensive, considering the $11.00
>>>price tag for EGGS. In general, I am not a big fan of a la carte
>>>brunches. I can sort of stomach having to pay for my bloody (at Great
>>>Jones Cafe I will happily do so), but I at least want a coffee
>>>included. I DEFINITELY want some sort of side to be included -
>>>potatoes, mixed salad, fruit... Even stupid Schiller's includes some
>>>sort of substantive side with all of their brunch entrees and they're
>>>a total rip! I felt like this place was trying to be a more country
>>>kitchen version of Freemans, which is overrated for dinner, but great
>>>for brunch. Perhaps Ici is the opposite?


Friday, September 15, 2006

Last Night's Dinner: Blue Ribbon Sushi

The following bad things happened to me yesterday. First I learned I needed another root canal and my dentist yelled at me (but in a caring, funny, Eastern European sort of way so I didn't mind that much). Then my cute little orange umbrella I purchased earlier this year at UNIQLO broke! The piece de resistence? My laptop at work totally got busted. I installed the latest iTunes and QuickTime updates and it wouldn't restart! Why does every Mac I touch go haywire? And I hate PCs so I refuse to switch.

So I called up the Listmaker to tell him about my crappy day and he suggested we go to Blue Ribbon Sushi for dinner, but we had to not go overboard because I had just eaten at Al Di La the night before (see BrooklyVegan) and spent some money.

We both started off with the miso soup, which I love at BRS because the miso paste comes on the side and you can add to your own taste. For dinner we went with a maki combo of tuna, california roll and mackerel supplemented with a negi hama roll (yellowtail with scallion) as well as some nigiri a la carte (2 pieces of broiled fresh water eel, 2 pieces of regular eel, 1 piece of spanish mackerel, 1 piece of smoked yellowtail). Green tea and a large bottle of Asashi was shared to wash things down.

For dessert, someone at the table who is not me really wanted to get the chocolate bruno with green tea ice cream, but I started getting some stomach pains and we instead skipped dessert and just went home. The stomach pains were not a result of the food not being good, I think I just ate too quickly. Big surprise!

Labels: , ,

Yesterday's Eating


After Wednesday night's show and some pints at Enid's, Evan and Gram came back and crashed at the house in Clinton Hill. The next morning, Heather made all of us a delicious scramble before they had to hit the road for DC. I cooked up some bacon in BUTTER, but she did all the rest of the work. There were four of us, but she somehow managed to stretch out the only five eggs in the house to feed all of us. Naturally, she added some milk to the eggs, but she also threw in diced peppers, onions, fresh kernels of corn straight off the cob, spinach and the bacon I cooked earlier. It was fantastic! I especially loved the texture of the fresh corn in contrast to the scrambled eggs. Thanks H!


Continuing on the previous night's Polish kick, Nate cooked up two big things of kielbasa and some sauerkraut. Zach Attack stopped by for dinner and made some delicious mashed potatoes. He also taught me a lot about Crater Lake. Anyway, there was a lot of debate surrounding Nate's preparation of the kielbasa. First, he boiled it, which I think is supposed to firm up the skin and seal in the flavor (this is how my friend Martin does it, and he should know because he is Polish AND German, so really knows how to prepare a good wurst). Then, he cut slits on the top of the kielbasa and fried it in a heavy cast iron skillet. Zach Attack and Heather voiced opposition to the boiling of the meat, but I thought it was divine!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Last Night's Dinner

Al Di La (5th Avenue and Carroll, Park Slope) with Youthie L.

My first time dining here, despite the fact that it seems to be an old favorite of many. There was really nothing not to like about this reasonably priced, rustic Italian trattoria. To start, YL and I shared the beet salad (two types of beets, both delicious with great texture), along with a salad comprised of white anchovy fillets, yellow and red tomatoes, yellow CHERRY tomatoes (juicy and sweet), over a bed of bread, dressed in a lovely lemon vinaigrette. Seriously tasty. For dinner, YL had the spaghetti con vongole (this white clam sauce somehow manages to be perfectly simple, but oddly SPICY at the same time) and I had pappardelle in an amazing duck ragu. The ragu was just rich enough and tasted slightly of Madeira. The house red is also quite nice here. We split a carafe, which was actually a country kitchenish looking pitcher, and agreed that it tasted like delicious jam! In a good way.

Afterward, I went to the Warsaw in Greenpoint to see Rogue Wave. Since I sort of live in a bubble, I of course had never heard of them, but I went because my friend Heather is friends with Evan (bass) and Gram (lead guitar, sometimes drums). I was pleasantly surprised and especially liked it when they sang 'the Kids Are Alright' with members of Nada Surf (I COMPLETELY forgot about those guys! I seriously have not thought about them since the nineties.). Anyway, in addition to being a cool venue, the Warsaw also offers cheap drinks and homey Polish fare. Despite being stuffed from dinner, I had some yummy kielbasa with pickles!


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Today's Lunch: Make Your Own Salad

I am finishing up my lunch right now and trying to fight off disappointment. This mornining's pecan danish from the Bread Alone stand at the greenmarket plus a corn/rice/flaxseed cake from a coworker left me not very hungry for lunch. But I had a meeting at 2pm and the thought of not eating anything until at least 4pm was not at all appleaing to me. So around 1:50 or so, I decided to head downstairs to the deli next door for something to bring into the meeting. I opted for make-your-own-salad using a small bowl of romaine as my base. At this deli, your base includes a meat + 4 additional toppings. I went with turkey, roasted red peppers, chickpeas, cucumbers and a smidge of bleu cheese. For my dressing, some black pepper and a lemon herb vinaigrette. What an awful combination I put together. What was I thinking? I just don't like cubed meat unless it's a hunk of country ham or something like say, a square of chuck in a chili or stew. I normally get a hard boiled egg in my make-your-own salad, but knowing I would be in a meeting, I opted against since sometimes eggs can be a little stinky. I really hate when lunch sucks. Now all I can think about is how I am going to make it up to myself at dinner.


Last Night's Dinner

Yankee Stadium with Papper.

Yankees - 12
Devil Rays - 4

Beautiful night at the Stadium and the return of Matsui (who, by the way, went 4 for 4). Apparently, it was also Suzyn Waldman's birthday - blech! Today is Bernie Williams' - that gentle soul. Anyway, I ate my usual chicken fingers and french fries and a Heiney. No uncharted territory here. Paps had the same, plus a sausage prior to entering the ballpark.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Everything I Ate Since I've Been MIA

For some reason, Brooklyn me is rarely in close proximity to a computer. Anyway, I know I'm super behind on this thing, so here's a quick summary of the past week:

Tuesday - Delicious fish and chips and a Heineken Premium Light from the Fulton Seafood stand at the US Open. Both way tastier than I ever expected. We ended up getting rained out, but at least we had time for lunch.

Wednesday - Overly saucey Buffalo wings and waffle fries from the Franks/Fries stand at the US Open. I was seriously disappointed by the wings. The prior day, I spied a Polo-clad ball boy carrying a tray of crispy brown wings with what looked like sauce on the side. When ordering my own wings, I got flustered when asked 'crispy' or 'hot'? Well, naturally I wanted BOTH, so I asked if I could have 'crispy', but with my sauce on the side. The woman said that they did not have sauce on the side, which I knew wasn't true, but didn't feel like making a fuss, so I ordered 'hot'. The spice factor was ok, but those wings were just too saucey! Seeing hottie pants Federer and Blake really cushioned the blow though. Oh, and seeing Rafa lose was really awesome. I hate that kid - nice guns though.

Thursday - Lunch at the Outpost (Fulton and Downing, Clinton Hill, but like, shamelessly flirting with BedSty) with Heather. I had tasty salmon cakes on a bed of mixed greens. For dinner, Nate, Heather, Mike and I made pan-seared skirt steak with roasted red bliss potatoes and corn on the cob. DELICIOUS. Of course.

Friday - Youthlarge's 30th birthday dinner at Lil' Frankie's. I believe she will be writing it up.

Saturday - Leftover skirt steak and two scrambled eggs for brekkie. Oh, alright, I cooked up three pieces of bacon too. Delicious Korean BBQ with the Hong clan for dinner. Youthlarge will be writing about this as well. (Youthie L - I can do one or both of these posts if you want.)

Sunday - Brunch at Loreley (Rivington between Christie and Bowery, NYC) with Mike, Ted, Antonia, Sus and Donovino. Per usual, I had the Jaeger Schnitzel with pommes frites and salad and a half liter of Franziskaner Hefeweizen . I've said it before and I'll say it again, the fries at this place are divine. Perfectly crispy and served with yummy mayo!

Monday - For lunch I picked up a rotisserie chicken from the Met (Miguel behind the counter was hoping we could make it romantical and eat it together!) and Heather cooked up some Annie's mac and cheese. She also made a nice salad of romaine, carrots, scallions and fresh basil. Oh, grape tomatoes too. For dinner, Mike and I decided to check out Beast (Vanderbilt and Bergen, I dunno, Prospect Heights?). For the most part, this tapas place was pretty tasty. My favorites were the Blue Point Lager braised short ribs and the sea scallops served on a bed of sweet potato puree (I think) with fried fennel. Naturally, being the meat and potatoes kind of girl that I am, I loved the Spanish tortilla. We also shared some grilled portabellos and a salmon ceviche. Both were just so-so. To drink, we had a mediocre rose from Provence and bid Summer adieu. Afterward, we went to Soda (Vanderbilt and St. Mark's) for a couple of beers. En route, we ran into Jim Flood and he joined us at the bar. SWEET!

OK. I think I'm sufficiently caught up now.


i promise to finish up my asia reports as well as share with everyone the deliciousness that was my birthday eating, but in the meantime, i'd like to report that i've finally hit the food stands by the red hook soccer fields.

first i did a walk through from start to end so i knew my options. i started with a plate of papusas, fried plantains and a pickled cabbage salad the color of cotton candy. i garnished with a dab of sour cream on the plaintains, a pickled jalepeno for the salad, and some rich red sauce on the papusa.

the papusas were filled with minced pork and queso. the plantains were caramalized and crusty on the outside, deliciousy tender on the inside - some of the best i've never had. the vinergy slaw, addictive as well as a crunchy and tangy counterpart to the savory papusa. the total cost of this plate? $3.50!

dan went for a huarache quesedilla. i used to own a pair of nike huaraches when i was younger. they were constructed of space age magenta and blue fabric and had a black rubber heel band rather than a full heel shell. fancy! i loved that they cooked the corn tortilla to order, spreading a thin layer of masa on the griddle to form the huarache portion of this meal. it was more like an open faced taco. on a separate cooking surface, the meat was cooked.

to wash things down, we got a big ol' styrofoam cup of horchata, which we had first tried a couple summers ago at a san diego farmers market.

i was still hungry. what to eat next. i went for the ceviche...

which was great for the first couple bites. chunks of whitefish, little coins of octopus, plump shrimp, swimming in a milky, citrusy brine. and then i found a ginormous black hair in my ceviche and that was that. the hair was in such contrast to the whiteness of the marinade that it was game over. i should have gone with the grilled corn. the hair may have won round one, but i'll be back.

p.s. i did not have any chicharonnes. i just like to say the word.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Post-Move Eating Highlights

So, last Thursday I moved to Brooklyn and things are starting to get back to normal. After we finished moving everything into Nate and Heather's house, Donovan, Mike, Nate and I decided to go to Habana Outpost (Fulton and South Portland, Fort Greene) for some well deserved margaritas. This is a great outdoor spot - much chiller than its scenesterish Nolita sister. We all had Cubanos (slathered in delicious chipotle mayo), which were tasty, but not as good as the ones at Cibao. We also had some of their amazing signature grilled corn, covered in butter, chipotle mayo and cheese. And obviously, many frozen margaritas were consumed.

On Friday, my friend Matt got back from Little Cranberry Island, Maine. He brought some edible friends with him and cooked them up Thai style in a delectable green curry (my idea) with coconut milk, lemongrass, lime leaves, Thai basil and spicy chili peppers. The resolution is not so good, but here's a pic:

To be honest, I'm a lobster traditionalist, so I was a little hesitant to try this green curry preparation instead of simply steaming and dunking in drawn butter, but I have to say, it turned out really well and I highly recommend it. It was seriously delicious!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Asia Report #12 - Kaiseki in Kyoto

We bid goodbye to Osaka and headed to Kyoto for a night's stay at the Gion Fukuzumi ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn. I was mainly interested in the kaiseki dining that is associated with these inns. I have to say Kyoto was a bit of a let down after the hustle and bustle of Osaka. Not the town for me. But our room was comfortable, the staff friendly, and the meal a lovely culinary journey. I'm sorry I can't be more specific on what we ate; there were a lot of new tastes.

The blue dish on the left held some sort of pressed rice cake, with a piece of sea urchin, a dab of wasabi and some nori on top. The other dish contained a sweet shrimp, a dumpling, some edamame, marinated greens and a whelk! More on the whelk later.

The tan bowl contained deliciously light somen noodles with a shitake and shrimp garnish. Next to it was some sashimi - there was amaebi (sweet shrimp, which I wasn't too keen on) and I think mackerel and sea bream. Yes, I know, I am an embarassment to the Hong name. Behind that you'll see a pan fried flat fish.

Dan offers up the ubiquitous V for victory/peace sign. That white bowl in the foreground contained a couple pieces of sweet eel and delicate young bamboo shoots, which I was really into.

Contemplating the whelk. This was the only thing I refused to eat. I felt it was part of the experience to at least try everything, which I did, save for the whelk. It's a snail for crissake's and I was not going to do it. After much consideration, Dan decided he didn't have it in him either.

Fish in many forms for breakfast the next morning. Clockwise from top left: a fishcake with shrimp wrapped in yuba, in a light broth; tournade of some sort of root vegetable with fishcakes; fishcakes make to look like strands of spaghetti; tamago; some sort of flatfish; more fishcake made to look like pressed sushi, served with a sweet black paste.

Steaming hot miso with tiny little clams to start your day off. Loved the individual chafing dishes. Liked this miso a whole lot more than the miso served with dinner, which contained mushrooms that had a okra-like gooey-ness to them.

Labels: ,