Sunday, February 13, 2011

red hook

tonight i'm bringing you a special 2 for 1 entry of hammy on rye. we traveled all the way to red hook (actually only 7 miles away, but you try navigating your way through brooklyn!), which happens to be one of my favorite neighborhoods in brooklyn because of all of the culinary treasures that reside there. first of all fairway and ikea are there, prime destinations. you've got stumptown coffee roasters, red hook lobster pound, the good fork. but this entry is not about any of those places, oh no. i'm dedicating this entry to two of my favorite red hook establishments, hope & anchor and the ultra famous BAKED.

hope & anchor is a little retro diner joint situated on the corner of van brunt and wolcott streets. with an extensive menu hope & anchor is typically a crowd pleaser, we've been there several times with all different types of picky eaters (i'm looking at you, kevin) and everyone is usually satisfied. clearly this wasn't my first time visiting hope & anchor, or baked, but i felt as though they were due for some recognition on this little thing here.

h & a was rather busy this morning, we waited around 10 minutes to be seated. as soon as we sat the hostess (who was very pleasant) brought us our menus and asked if she could take our drink order. she brought us our beverages and that was the last we saw of anyone for quite some time. i don't think of myself as very critical when i dine out, but waiting 15 minutes to have your order taken is pretty ridiculous. you are serving brunch on a sunday in brooklyn, need to have more than 1 waiter on the floor. a bartender does not equal a waiter either. not only did it take that long but the bartender who took our order looked extremely pissed that he had to even be talking to us. after we placed our order the food came around 8 minutes later which was excellent timing, i wasn't sure i could contain myself any longer.

the food was excellent, as always. i ordered the cheeseburger (which i could smell from the street as we were walking up) and it was delicious as usual. all burgers come with a side salad and a side of fries, which are eerily similar to mc donald's french fries. joe was less than pleased with his meal; he ordered the granola with yogurt and fruit but found that the yogurt was too bitter. he also had a side of "hash" which to me looked like a side of roasted vegetables, not exactly hash. we waited another 10 minutes or so until we received our check, which i was ok with since i needed to digest before we walked a few stores down to my favorite place in the world.....BAKED!!

like i've previously stated, i'm not really into those hyped up places that everyone talks about and thinks is soOooO wonderful when in reality it seriously is mediocre and it's only popular because of who has endorsed it (i.e. magnolia bakery). oh, and i HATE oprah. but boy, do i love baked! apparently their brownies were listed as one of oprah's favorite things (the sweet & salty is most definitely the best brownie i've ever had) which has been HUGE for them i'm sure (they now sell their boxed brownie mix at williams-sonoma, so cool!). i'm not going there for the brownies though (that's a lie, i did buy one)....i'm going there for the WHOOPIE PIE.

that's right, whoopie pie. an amish tradition, whoopie pies are pretty much cake sandwiches. or maybe a soft oreo. i don't really know. all i know is that they are fucking DELICIOUS and after eating baked's version of them, i could pretty much die happy. today they only had the classic and peanut butter versions. the red velvet (which we sampled at last week's artisans market at williams sonoma) was by far the best one i've had yet. so moist and incredible, not too sweet and not too overwhelming. the fact that they also serve stumptown coffee makes baked my most favorite bakery in the whole entire world.

red hook is a wonderful little neighborhood that makes you feel like you're not in brooklyn, which can be a good thing sometimes. i would love to buy a little place there and start our mini farm with bees, chicken and vegetables. hopefully we can find something for a decent price! until then, i'll relish my trips to this neighborhood and pretend i'm a local.

Hope & Anchor
347 Van Brunt St
(at Wolcott St)
Brooklyn, NY 11231

(718) 237-0276

359 Van Brunt St
(between Dikeman St & Wolcott St)
Brooklyn, NY 11231

(718) 222-0345

btw, both places accept credit cards although there is a $10 minimum at baked.

Monday, February 7, 2011

february blues.

i hate winter. and now i hate winter even more because i live in new york. every single week it snows (or atleast it seems that way) and i'm just simply not prepared for this. it's my first winter in new york and we've reached record snow fall for january. my street is covered in trash bags and filthy snow. on saturday morning in front of eataly, i was surrounded by snow and puddles of melted ice when suddenly a car splashed my entire body with dirty city slush. i can't take this today i'm taking us back to those warm june nights when you want nothing more than to walk a few blocks for an insanely delicious taco and an ice cold modelo.

Tortilleria Mexicana Tres Hermanos, or as i tend to call it, the tortilla factory. i first heard about this place when i was still living in virginia, watching every episode of "no reservations" and worshipping tony bourdain. not much has changed, but i do live in brooklyn now and only 10 blocks away from this amazing taqueria. this is no frills, authentic as fuck mexican food. you walk in, you grab an index card and you write down your order. being the gringa that i am, i write everything down in english because quite frankly my spanglish is embarrassing and i'd rather not offend them. the menu is fairly small, but that is completely fine with me...give me a taco, a tostada, a jarrito and i'm good to go. so after you've placed your order you sit down, enjoy the sights and smells and wait for your food. behind the windows you can see the tortilla factory in full swing. it's really comforting to know that your tortillas are being made on sight. the best part about the whole experience is that this place is DIRT cheap. $2.25 for a HUGE really can't beat that, especially in brooklyn. the vegetarian taco is my go to, filled with refried beans, lettuce, huge chunks of avocado, tomato and whatever the mexican equivalent to sour cream and cheese are (crema? chihuahua queso? don't quote me). the quesadilla is something i gravitate towards if i'm feeling's a humungous warm, thick tortilla stuffed with the same fillings as the taco and melted cheese. i always make sure to squeeze fresh lime juice on everything and slather on the fresh red HOT salsa they provide you with. then waltzes in the jarrito, my drink of choice, to ease the pain the salsa is causing and supplies me with a refreshed feeling. mandarin or lime only, please.

the tortilla factory is my favorite place to eat in warm months (tacos in the winter don't really do it for me), i can't think of a better way to spend my evening than walking a few blocks where i'm teleported to mexico. the food is simply outstanding.

see you in may, dear friend.

Tortilleria Mexicana Tres Hermanos
271 Starr St
(between Wyckoff Ave & St Nicholas Ave)
Brooklyn, NY 11237
Neighborhood: Bushwick

(718) 456-3422

btw, this restaurant is cash only and BYOB.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

2011 and i'm back!

well, i took a brief hiatus but i am back and ready to blog weekly. the holiday season was absolutely insane at my restaurant which left me no time to document or blog about my meals. no more excuses, now on to the good stuff.....

i'm not one for hyped places, or the newest craze, or NY times approved restaurants but i do find myself now and again looking to new york magazine for advice on where to spend my cash. my favorite issue every year is the "where to eat" edition that breaks down the very best places in this fine city to dine at. so i've compiled my list and my top 10 restaurants to try this year as as follows:

ABC kitchen
red rooster (i've never been to harlem so double whammy there)
noodle bar
le bernardin
buttermilk channel

only 4 of those restaurants were listed in the annual issue and i had already been to a few of the ones they mentioned. hopefully i can try one of those restaurants every month for the next 10 months and i promise to blog about it!

it's true love.

now for a review...

sunday is my favorite day of the week. more often than not i'm off from work and able to go out for brunch, which is something i've always really enjoyed. lately we've been going out for brunch every weekend so today i wanted to try a different place. there is a new hana food (organic market) that just opened up less than 10 blocks from apartment, and when i went there yesterday i noticed a dark little restaurant on the corner. it was raining and i didn't have the patience to walk over and see what it was so i immediately checked yelp when i got home. after finding the name and the website i peeped the menu and was pleasantly surprised that it all sounded quite delicious. didn't take much convincing on my end, joe was happy to not trek to williamsburg for a meal. so tim picked us up and we headed to Northeast Kingdom.

first thing i noticed when we walked in was that they listed most of the farms where they obtained their food from. being a chef myself in a farm to table restaurant, i appreciate when restaurants supply that sort of information. i was also intrigued because i hadn't heard of most of those farms and was eager to chow down and see what they were all about.

after ordering a cup of coffee (which was from a coffee shop down the block called wyckoff star) i decided to go with the omelet with spinach and onions, which came with a choice of toast (wheat or white) and home fries. joe ordered the same and tim opted for the chilaquiles. bonus points for having diverse egg options.

this arrived and i knew i made the right decision. big chunks of onions and spinach, perfectly seasoned home fries and delicious wheat toast, a perfect breakfast. being on the line and knowing how to expedite and how timing works, i was pretty disappointed with how long it took for us to receive our food, but it's brunch so i do understand. the home fries were a bit cold and i don't understand why they don't offer some sort of jam to accompany the toast, but other than that everything was really delicious. prices are a bit high, but it is brooklyn so that is to be expected. overall, i enjoyed my experience there, the food was really delicious and i do believe i'll be back, especially since it's so close to my apartment.

but only if i get to dine with these hunks again....

Northeast Kingdom
18 Wyckoff Ave
(at Jefferson St)
Brooklyn, NY 11237
Neighborhood: Bushwick (!!)
(718) 386-3864

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

the commodore

after joe and i had our discussion about southern food, i felt like maybe i should just give up trying all of these places in new york for southern food. maybe it was hopeless, i's not like you can find REALLY good pizza in the south, right?

sunday morning joe asked me if i wanted to accompany him to this record fair that he had a table at. usually i would be quick to say "HELL NO" but it was our only day off together and since he's leaving for new orleans next week on my other days off, i decided to go with it (plus i had some records i wanted to unload, two birds-one stone). he also mentioned that it was being held at the commodore, another southern influenced restaurant i had heard much about and had been dying to try since i saw an article mentioning them in the july 1st issue of new york magazine.

(a picture i took to remind myself to try this restaurant)

still feeling jaded over the whole pies 'n' thighs fiasco, i made sure my expectations were at an all time low so i wouldn't be disappointed again. we arrived at the record fair around 12:30 and had to wait until 4 for the kitchen to open.

i peeped the menu out and went to the bar to place my order. i decided to just go for it, order the fried chicken! what's the worst that can happen - it sucks? been there, done that. it's ok, atleast now i'll know. at 10 dollars, it's worth the shot.

this arrived at my table and i knew i made the right choice. the outside was so crispy and hot and salty, i felt like i had died and gone to heaven. the meat was juicy and tender and almost melted in my mouth. and their hot sauce was delicious! commodore knows what's up; they serve the hot sauce on the side, good thinking. the biscuits were the best biscuits i had ever tasted in my entire life, and they came with honey butter. honey and butter, never would have thought of mixing them together. genius. the potato salad was excellent, kind of a smokey flavor to it. perfect potato/dressing ratio as well.

washing it all down with some anchor steam (one of my top 3 favorite beers) we decided we needed MORE beer and MORE biscuits. hell, it was happy hour! 2 for 1 beers.. can't beat that. so we had another round and left the commodore with money in our pockets (thanks record buyers) and stomachs full of amazing southern food.

food aside, the commodore is definitely a bar i would like to frequent. it has a weird 60's-70's charlie's angels retro vibe to it, and the booths are really comfortable. everyone who worked there was super friendly, which can be hard to come by in snooty williamsburg. really great happy hour prices help too, and their normal prices aren't bad. for 1 chicken meal w/ biscuits, potato salad, 4 beers and a side order of biscuits we spent $28, very impressive.

the commodore, two very enthusiastic thumbs up.

the commodore
366 metropolitan ave (at havemeyer)
brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 218-7632
open daily: 4pm - 4 am

Monday, September 13, 2010

overhyped 'n' disappointing

ok...i know i suck at this. i never update. but i PROMISE, it stops here. i have more reliable internet access now and starting next week i will have my very own network that will never fail me and i can blog until i'm blue in the face. now that we've discussed this, we can move on.

so usually i'm pretty reluctant to try hyped brooklyn hipster joints because .. a) they have the worst clientele in the world, b) they usually do not live up to the hype, c) regardless of my recent ramen binge- i do have a pretty refined palette! i had heard many, many things about Pies 'n' Thighs from various outlets, i even saw one of the owners on my mom's favorite tv show, "who wants to be a millionaire?". this is supposed to be THE place to go to for fried chicken, pie and other southern delights. joe and i had tried to go there a few times before but something always got in the way (they close from 4-5, couldnt find parking, wait seemed too long) so when he texted me at work on saturday and asked if i wanted to join him and our friends sami and nadia at pies 'n' thighs i was pumped 'n' ready to actually get to try it.

we arrive at pies 'n' thighs at probably the most perfect time, 6:30. nadia and sami had already secured us a table and the place wasn't that busy. we ordered sweet teas to start and peeked at the menu. not a large menu, only 9 real entree choices (grilled cheese and chicken biscuit arent my idea of an entree though). i decided i was going to go for the chicken biscuit and a side of mac and cheese. nadia and sami both chose the catfish box while joe went for the super bowl (3 sides and a biscuit). we didn't wait long for the food since it wasn't busy, which was a relief because after working in a kitchen all day long at my job, i was famished.

when my plate arrived i was confused. why is everything doused in hot sauce? didn't say so on the menu...and what if you don't LIKE hot sauce? i'm pretty picky about which ones i like so to me that was a bit presumptuous on their parts. i cut into the biscuit with the fried chicken. my first thought was "wow, hot sauce".. and then "oh, honey!" and then "ehh, this is ok". the biscuit was really good, the chicken was ok and the hot sauce was unnecessary. the touch of honey was interesting though and i liked it. my mac and cheese was also a hot sauce puddle which my tastebuds did not like at all. macaroni and cheese is perfect on it's doesn't need hot sauce. take note pies 'n' thighs.

everyone seemed to think their meals were just ok. joe hated his grits (once again, the hot sauce) and i'd have to agree with him. ok, so the entrees weren't that great. but there's still another course, let's order pie!!!!

i've really been fiending for some banana pie lately (thanks Baked) so i ordered that, while sami and nadia ordered the chocolate pie. i thoroughly enjoying my banana pie topped with nilla wafers, the creaminess of the banana mixed perfectly with the almost crispy pie crust. but $5?? REALLY?? it was a very small piece. good thing it was tasty...the pie really was pies 'n' thighs only saving grace.

shortly after dropping off sami and nadia at the bedford L station, joe and i had a deep h2h about southern food in new york. it doesn't work, it will never work, just gotta get it when i'm home. (or so we thought...stay tuned..)

so after wanting to visit this place for ages, money now down the drain, all i really have to say is...
maybe they should change their name to pies 'n' hot sauce, since those seem to be the most prominent figures in their establishment.

Pies 'n' Thighs (Hot Sauce)
166 S. 4th Street (at Driggs)
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Thursday, June 10, 2010

we all scream for (vegan) ice cream!

now back to the fun stuff! recently i was reading a blog that mentioned lula's sweet apothecary, an all vegan ice cream shop in the east village. having consumed dairy for most of my life i am always weary about vegan substitutes. i'm sorry daiya, your intentions are good but your vegan cheese sucks. tofutti has mastered the cream cheese but that's about it. when it comes to dairy, it's damn hard to replace. that being said i went to lula's with an open mind, but being the cynical asshole that i am i figured this place would suck.

boy was i wrong! the menu is small, only around 10 different ice cream flavors. what they lack in variety they sure do make up for in taste. i ordered the cake batter soft serve on a sugar cone. i felt as if i was licking the spatula in my momma's kitchen while she was making me a yellow cake ( that rarely ever happened though, my mom would rather hand me 20 bucks for the store than lift a finger in the kitchen). the soft serve was soy based, and i couldn't even taste the soy milk. it was the creamiest, most decadent ice cream i've ever licked off of a cone. joe ordered the peanut butter fudge, which i believe was cashew based. it tasted exactly like what i would expect from a homemade ice cream store using real cream and real eggs. i was so astonished, and elated! i have finally found a vegan dairy substitute i can write home about! they do shakes, sundaes, pints. they even have gluten free options. joe and i will definitely be going there after we move into our new apt to deflower our freezer with some delicious vegan ice cream.

lula's sweet apothecary has two new loyal followers.

lula's sweet apothecary
516 east 6th street
new york, ny 10009

btw, lula's opens at 3pm daily.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

the trip to conneticut pt. 2

the boys kept telling me how delicious the bakery was and i had no reason to doubt them, these were the same guys who brought me to the most amazing pizza joint i've ever had the pleasure of eating at. joe suggested i try a canoli, and boy am i glad he did. i've never been a huge fan of cannolis, i find them to be overly sweet and leave me feeling nauseous. i assure you this cannoli did not leave me feeling that way. the pastry itself was sweet and almost crumbly, the filling was creamy and melted in your mouth. if i hadn't met my calorie quota for the month i would have eaten like 3 more, but i felt guilty enough.

libby's cannoli was the perfect ending to a wonderful day filled with delicious food and good friends. i look forward to the day i return to new haven's little italy.

libby's italian pastry shop
139 wooster st
new haven, CT 06511
(203) 772-0380