Monthly Archives: July 2010

The Redhead

Wednesday night I spent a lovely evening with my friend Jason of NYC Daily Deals and I Dream of Pizza. One of the highlights was not being the only loser at the table to pull out a camera every time a dish was presented. Another highlight was the killer food. Can you say fried blueberry pie? This girl can.

The Redhead 349 East 13th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue, New York, NY. The Redhead is a neighborhood joint with a bar occupied by locals and a cozy little dining room safe from the frat boys and hipsters that dwell in the neighboring NYU area. The menu is simple and brilliantly prepared, as if you were sitting in your grandmother’s kitchen… if your grandmother was super trendy and cool.

On the menu:
Flatbread with sausage, mushrooms, and mascarpone
Newport steak with fried green tomatoes, smashed ranch beans, and redhead steak sauce
Buttermilk fried chicken with cornbread and strawberry and spinach salad with almonds
Fried blueberry pie with lemon ice cream

Verdict: Hello, lovelyyyy. Fried chicken. Fried pie. But nothing was overdone or greasy. I didn’t leave the restaurant feeling like I’d just exited a Hardee’s. There wasn’t a single disappointing element in the meal, but the flatbread was the real star of te show: a crispy crust with melty cheese and perfectly tender toppings. It was almost like a pizza but sans sauce. After the little starter had disappeared I kinda wished I had another one. Or ten. Whatever. The fried blueberry pie was also incredible: tiny little empanada-like pastries filled with fresh blueberries and warm blueberry sauce over a scoop of tart lemon ice cream and topped with candied strips of lemon rind.

This here is comfort food at its best, y’all.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under New York Restaurants

Ketchup, Mayo, and Mustard, Oh My!

One of the classrooms at The Brooklyn Kitchen

This post is a big ole ad (even though they sure as heck are not paying me) for The Brooklyn Kitchen. They have endless classes on everything from brewing your own beer at home and cake decorating to pickling and bread baking, and all for around $50 a pop. They are informative, taught by experienced and knowledgeable chefs, and located super close to the Lorimer stop off the L train in Brooklyn.

Why aren’t you leaping off your couch to go take a class right now?

On Monday night I went out to The Brooklyn Kitchen and took the class on condiments. I am now full of information on how to craft my own mayonnaise, ketchup, BBQ sauce, mustard, citrus vinaigrette, and green goddess dressing.

Jealous?

While chef Brendan McDermott, who taught the class, stressed that recipes are the devil (my words, not his) and that home cooks should use their palates to craft truly special condiments, I’m going to share with you a couple recipes so you can start the condiments journey on your own.

You. Are. Welcome.

Greens with citrus vinaigrette (on lettuce), green goddess, and mustard

Spicy Mustard

3 Tbsp ground mustard seeds
3 Tbsp cheap beer (you heard me)
Healthy pinch of salt
2 tsp olive oil

Add the beer to the mustard and mix well. Add the salt and olive oil. Taste. If it’s too spicy for your liking, add a little more oil. If you’re a glutton for punishment, add more mustard powder.

That’s IT. Can you believe this? Don’t you want to slather this on everything in your cupboard and declare yourself Queen of Condiments?! No…? Just me…?

On to mayo!

French fries with (counterclockwise from top) ketchup, BBQ sauce, curry ketchup, and mustard

Mayonnaise

3 egg yolks
3 cups oil (canola, grapeseed, or olive)
1 Tbsp lemon zest (or zest from half a lemon)
1/4 cup lemon juice (or juice from one lemon)
2 tsp homemade mustard
Healthy pinch of salt (or 2 to taste)
2 Tbsp warm water

In a blender, on low speed, blend together egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and mustard. Add salt. Add warm water. While the blender is running, add the oil VERY slowly, in as thin and slow a stream as your hand can muster. You absolutely have to add the oil as slow as possible so the mixture stays emulsified. Once the oil is added, you have mayonnaise! Let the mixture sit out at room temperature for about an hour before refrigerating so the mixture doesn’t separate in the cold.

Mayonnaise is an amazing base for so many things; ranch dressing, green goddess dressing, flavored mayo like chipotle and sriracha, and can be used to beef up cakes and baked goods. Seriously, this is the stuff.

All this and more at The Brooklyn Kitchen! Check it out.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking, Recipes

One Drink to Remember

Sometimes I think I can’t wait to leave New York, and then I remember that I literally have everything at my fingertips. Cooking classes at dirt cheap prices taught by chefs that have worked at 4 star restaurants in Manhattan? Psh. Old hat. More on that tomorrow…

After a fantastic culinary experience (as I said, more on that tomorrow…) I like to refresh myself with some gin.

Have I mentioned I am NOT an alcoholic?

A quick shout out to DuMont in Williamsburg for their inventive cocktails (like the Dell Fresca pictured below, made with St. Germain, fresh dill, Seagram’s gin, cucumber, lime, and soda). The guy next to me at the bar ordered a burger and it was literally the size of my head. When I Googled “Dumont, Brooklyn, NY” the first thing that came up was “Best Burger in Brooklyn!” and then it was reiterated by many, many websites. When I arrived back in Queens, I actually considered hopping the train back to the BK to partake. Good thing Dumont is close to the subway station.

DuMont Restaurant, 432 Union Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY.

Leave a comment

Filed under New York Restaurants

Pop Goes the Weekend

Happy Monday, friends! I saw 60s in the forecast for this week so I could not be happier. In addition to these normal summer temperatures I have two exciting culinary happenings in the cards this week. Monday morning is easier to swallow when your Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursdays are looking up.

In lieu of dinner Sunday night, I made popcorn. I know what you’re thinking. “Popcorn is not a meal, Lauren.” But don’t worry, I had a glass of wine, too.

On the menu:
Parmesan pepper popcorn

1/4 cup popcorn*
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Pop the corn in an air popper. Melt butter over low heat. Add cheese to butter just until coated with butter. Pour half the butter/cheese mixture over popped corn, and sprinkle half the red pepper flakes over top. Toss popcorn. Pour the remaining butter/cheese over the popcorn and sprinkle the rest of the red pepper. Sprinkle salt and pepper over top. Toss well.

*If you don’t have an air popper, you can still make oil-free pop corn at home. Put the kernels in a paper bag and pop them in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Voila.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking, Recipes

Bon Weekend!

Hello friends,

The heat is old news, so I won’t bore you. But I will reiterate that my kitchen is a freaking sauna, hence my weekly diet of cheese, crackers, and sandwiches. And no, they were not interesting sandwiches. For a hot second yesterday I considered carrying the fixings into my AC’ed bedroom to put the sandwich together. It’s that bad.

A quick “happy weekend” post to let you know that:

a) there is exciting food truck news! Joyride Truck, featuring Portland’s own Stumptown coffee and other caffeinated treats, has been parked in midtown all week until the early afternoon.

b) you can now follow me on Twitter! I’ll be Tweeting, and Twittering, and Twitting, and you know… whatever… updates as they come on the blog, New York York deals, fun foodie finds around town, and much more. I’m jumping on the bandwagon, kiddies. There’s no going back now.

Leave a comment

Filed under Miscellaneous, New York Restaurants

Blue Smoke

This week I participated in my second Restaurant Week venture, with a delicious pay off (every once in awhile you get a RW dud where it’s clear you’re getting the establishment’s dregs… cough SMITH & WOLLENSKY cough).

Blue Smoke East 27th St, between Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue, New York, NY. Blue Smoke specializes in barbeque, with regional specialties from across the country. In the basement of the restaurant is Jazz Standard, a renowned jazz club with live music every night of the week.

Grilled octopus over wild rice

On the menu:
Grilled octopus over wild rice with hazelnuts and cherry tomatoes
Chicken wings with blue cheese sauce
Kansas City Spareribs with coleslaw and pit beans
Peach and raspberry crisp with buttermilk ice cream
Sour cream cheesecake with blackberries and mint

Peach and raspberry crisp with buttermilk ice cream

Verdict: I should preface by telling you that I am a BBQ snob. I know… shocking. The best ribs I’ve ever had are the face-meltingly good babyback ribs at Kirsty’s Red Dog Tavern in Inlet, NY way up north in the Adirondacks, and at Black-eyed Sally’s BBQ and Blues in Hartford, CT. Everything else pales in comparison.

So while the ribs at Blue Smoke were good, it was the pit beans that became the star of the show. They had a beautiful smoky-sweet flavor and were nestled between delicately tender shreds of pulled pork. I could’ve eaten a bowl of the beans alone. The octopus was also surprisingly delicious for a BBQ joint, and proves that the kitchen is much more skilled than BBQ diners might anticipate.

Another point worth mentioning is the outstanding Blue Smoke Original Ale. Just give me a pint of Blue Smoke, a bowl of pit beans, and I’m happy.

I’m a simple girl, folks.

Sour cream cheesecake with berries and mint

Leave a comment

Filed under New York Restaurants

Speak Easy and Carry a Big Stick

I’m not one of those people who always knows the newest hidden bar or the most up-and-coming clubs and lounges, but I do like a good drink and I do like to ingest it in a bar that boasts a great atmosphere. I don’t feature many bars here on Food E. but this one is worth mentioning, so while I’m on an “I Love Queens” kick, I’ll share.

Not the most reputable neighborhood, eh?

Dutch Kills 27-24 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, Queens, NY. Dutch Kills is owned by the same guys who own Milk and Honey and Painkiller in Manhattan. The bar is modeled after the speakeasies of the 1920s, so it’s “hidden” and it’s really word of mouth that gets people in the door. The cocktails are hand crafted and served with hand-cut blocks of ice (large chunks of ice melt slower in your drink), or candied ginger, or pickled cucumber, or another little bit of heaven you won’t find at your local Tonic. If you don’t see anything on their seasonal menu that tickles your fancy, you can tell the bartenders what types of drinks you usually enjoy and they’ll create something especially for you. You could veritably go to Dutch Kills every night and drink something new each time.

Not that I’ve tried or anything… I’m not alcoholic. I’m NOT.

Anyway… on my last visit I enjoyed a Gin Fizzie, which was perfect for the blistering heat. During the winter they make an incredible whiskey ginger with fresh ginger that’ll put hair on your chest. Unless you’re a lady. And then that’s just gross.

The interior is dimly lit, with dark mahogany surfaces, and an old school piano perched over saw dust in the back. If you’re ever wandering around the back alleys of Long Island City, try opening the door labeled “BAR.” You could get lucky.*

*Or you could get mugged. Make sure you’re opening the correct door, people.

Leave a comment

Filed under Miscellaneous