I had the brilliant idea to take my husband for a stroll along Park Slope, Brooklyn’s, Seventh Avenue last weekend. It was a gorgeous, fall Saturday–we were long overdue for a walk around the neighborhood. Predictably, the walk ended up turning into a snacking tour.
I recently returned from seeing my favorite band, Phish, for three nights in San Francisco. The city has many culinary gems, but there are good restaurants spread across the Bay Area. Two of the establishments I dined in over the course of the week truly stood out–in completely opposite ways–Swan Oyster Depot and Bottega.
SWAN OYSTER DEPOT
It’s no secret that I love cheeseburgers, in every way, shape or form. Sometimes I wonder if my love of finding the “best of the best” of this iconic American sandwich has surpassed my obsession with fried chicken–my all time favorite food.
Last week, I happened upon a tweet from George Motz, whose movie, Hamburger America, is legendary amongst culinary adventurists like myself. He mentioned a Brooklyn burger joint, two 8 two Burger, which was serving a Hatch Chile Cheeseburger, but they were only offering this New Mexico favorite for three days. I knew what I had to do.
I always love a good challenge, particularly when it comes to food. Recently, I visited the open air food market in Williamsburg, Brooklyn–Smorgasburg–again. This time I challenged myself with the task of trying new new dishes, as it’s become much too easy to go straight to my favorite vendors, such as Mile End.
Chris and I asked our friend and food blogger Vittles Vamp to join us. She hosted a delicious New Orleans themed dinner the night before, so we wanted to take her on a culinary adventure of our own. While she and Chris ran off to sample Smoked Meat at Mile End and Anchovies at Bon Chovie, each reviewed during my previous adventure to Smorgasburg, I stuck to the task of finding new eats.
Recently, we had the pleasure of seeing my sister, Mary, for a weekend in Brooklyn. Mary has quite the adventurous spirit when it comes to dining out, so we took her to a new restaurant in Prospect Heights: Woodland.
Chris and I rarely eat at restaurants when they first open, because the service isn’t usually very good. The food can be hit or miss as well. Given that the weather was spectacular when Mary arrived, we were looking for al fresco dining–Woodland has a huge outdoor seating area off of Flatbush Avenue, so we opted to eat there. After being seated, our goal was to try a diverse array of plates, which allowed us to get a true sense for the eatery’s culinary perspective.
There are few food items that my husband Chris loves more than cured meats, and there are few cities I adore more than Montreal. My parents grew up there, so I spent many years eating across that city when I was a child. When Mile End Delicatessen opened in 2010, we were absolutely thrilled–Mile End’s specialties are Montreal Jewish deli staples, such as Smoked Meat Sandwiches. Chris was a huge fan of smoked meat when we visited Montreal with my parents years back, as the flavor & consistency of the meat is very similar to pastrami–it’s cured and smoked brisket. When my parents came to visit us in Brooklyn recently, this was the obvious choice for lunch.
Chris and I still lived on the Lower East Side of Manhattan when Smorgasburg opened last summer. We couldn’t have been more blown away to see that Brooklyn Flea, which had limited food vendors, was hosting a Saturday spin-off “Food Market” just a quick cab ride away in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Fast forward to today, we’ve visited the food lover’s paradise at least five times–the vendors seem to get better and better each time we go.
New Orleans. N’awlins. NOLA. Crescent City. The Big Easy.
I’ve heard the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, referenced in so many ways over the years, but after spending five nights there for the world famous Jazz Fest, only one word comes to mind: Love.
I devoured meal after meal at restaurants and the Jazz Fest Fairgrounds, so I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves. What struck me the most about eating in this city was how much pride goes in to cooking every dish. There is very little pretension, even in the best restaurants in the city. Restauranteurs are extremely proud of their local ingredients, as they should be.
It’s no secret that I’ve grown incredibly fond of Brooklyn in a short period of time. I live in a self-contained borough with some of the best restaurants in New York City, which are typically more understated than many of the popular restaurants in Manhattan.
One establishment has received much praise since opening in 2004–Franny’s. Franny’s opened in Prospect Heights, most likely putting the neighborhood on the map from a culinary perspective. Their farm to table approach to pizza and pasta is well received by food lovers all over the city.
My friend Brooke and I had dinner there recently, and the locavore’s delight lived up to the hype overall. I would like to thank Brooke for taking over most of the photography duties for the evening too.
We decided not to wait for a table and instead eat at the bar. I’ll admit that I’m not usually a huge fan of eating at a restaurant’s bar because the seats aren’t very comfortable. Thankfully, for most of our evening, we had a very relaxing meal for two.
My husband had a great idea for how we could spend a sunny Saturday afternoon recently. He suggested that we escape our beloved Brooklyn for an afternoon visit to the borough of Queens. We exited the 7 train two stops from Citi Field–snacking our way through the neighborhood. Our final destination would be the baseball park which has become legendary for good eats in a very short period of time.
Our first stop was a South American taco truck right off the 7. These trucks are well known for cooking up amazing snacks for uber cheap prices.
- Taco with Chicken, Cilantro, Onion, Radish and Queso Fresco
- Gordita with Crispy Pork Skin, Spicy Pork, Lettuce, Crema and Queso Fresco
I’m admittedly pretty excited to share my culinary adventures from a recent trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan, with you. I grew up in Grand Rapids during my formative teen and college years, but my parents still live in the area, so I spent the weekend there recently. I’ve seen the city grow in so many positive ways since I moved away in the late nineties–particularly for those of us who love to eat out.
When my friend Sarah posted pictures of tacos from La Taqueria San Jose recently, I knew this would be one stop on the eating tour. The establishment was perfectly divey. I picked two relatively “safe” items off the menu: Al Pastor and Pollo Tacos with Queso Fresco, Cilantro and Onions. I would rate them about a seven out of ten on the tacos scale–the meat didn’t soak all the way through the corn tortillas and wasn’t overly layered with spice, but they nailed the base flavors.
One of the most fun aspects of being a food writer is researching the next restaurant to review. We strike a balance between wanting to enjoy a meal for ourselves versus our desire to provide our readers with an enjoyable experience. With a restaurant tagline like ‘Innovative, Inspired Chinese Cuisine with Greenmarket Sensibility,’ my gut instinct told me that Red Farm would rate a home run in both areas.
Knowing how quickly Joe Ng’s culinary venture had grown in popularity, Chris and I hosted date night in the city on a Monday night–hoping the wait for a table wouldn’t be too extreme. Arriving at 7:00 PM, we were told we may wait up to two hours, but they’d text us when a table opened up. Thankfully, we received a text within an hour. We were seated at a large communal table, which lent to entertaining discussion about food with our neighbors.
Chris and I are avid fans of cheeseburgers in every way, shape and form. We’ve tried the majority of “best of” burgers in New York City, and are always on the hunt for the next diamond in the rough.
When The Village Voice posted an article showcasing what they considered the 11 Best Burgers of NYC in 2011 recently, we noticed that one of the restaurants nominated, Dean Street, was located two blocks from our apartment. Naturally, we had to see for ourselves how their burger ranked against our favorites in the city. Chris was kind enough to take over photog duties for this article.
[Photo from deanstreetbrooklyn.com]
Dean Street has a nice ambience–a jazz band was playing in the front room. They also have an open kitchen in the back dining room. The service was good and the space cozy. Chris marveled at how an eatery like this would be packed in Manhattan, but given that we were in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, we had room to spread out.
Hosting good eats on Super Bowl Sunday has been a tradition in our household for many years. It all started when we raided Trader Joe’s about ten years ago, realizing how much fun it was to eat a variety of foods–not just the typical chips and wings.
Since we moved to Brooklyn, Chris and I spent many a night pondering our Super Bowl spread, as we finally had some room to prepare and serve a large quantity of food. He volunteered to spend the weekend slicing and dicing for the main event, whereas I coordinated the snacks and treats that our guests would bring. Although neither of us were New York Giants fans, we hosted a “Go Giants” party in honor of living in New York City.
Leading up to the party, we were absolutely starving, so I picked up a pair of Proscuitto Biscuits from Brooklyn Larder.
Chris and I have been watching the tv show Top Chef for the last five years. Being the culinary adventurists that we are, we get a kick out of seeing rising star chefs take each other on in wild challenges–which would drive a normal person insane.
Due to our fondness for the show, when Dale Talde, who is one of our favorite Top Chefs, announced he was opening Talde in Park Slope, Brooklyn, we counted down the days until the doors opened. Our last experience at a Top Chef’s restaurant, Girl and the Goat, was excellent, so naturally we had high standards.
Normally, we wait for a restaurant to get through its first few months before we eat there, simply because they’ve usually worked out the kinks by then. Since we broke our usual rule, we expected potential issues with the food and service. Impressively enough, we didn’t find many flaws with the meal, and none with the service.