Monday, September 27, 2010
I weigh 127 lbs.
The pictures are gonna be blurry. I'm sorry.
Seeing as that it's NY Craft Beer Week, and that I love beer, I knew that I'd have to go to at least ONE awesome event. I decided to make Get Real NY my event because of its focus on cask beers. Cask beers are unfiltered and unpasteurized and served without additional carbonation. The soft bubbles that you feel are from the yeasts that are still fermenting. Apparently, this is how it was done in the olden days before modern kegging and refrigeration.
Flat warm beer, you say? I think not! Time for me to do some drinking.
I got to the Altman Building in Chelsea about 15 mins in, and I was greeted by a fantastic sight.
LOOK AT ALL THAT BEER! 40 damn casks, and I had no idea where to start. I was given a super pretty GRNY glass, and I was relieved that I was getting a a nice full glass of beer, instead of a dinky sample cup. I gave the beer list I was given a look over, and really, the best way to handle this was to walk around and get a feel for everything...then dive in.
First beer up? Smuttynose's Pumpkin Ale. It was....not nearly as pumpkin-y as I'd hoped. Or spicy either. I've been forever searching for the perfect pumpkin beer....it didn't need to be sweet, just be delicious! This beer was okay, but I have to admit, I was disappointed.
For my next one, I decided to stay in the same brewery, but try a different flavor. Smuttynose's Chai was definitely different...but totally spicy and delicious. Traditional Chai spices shone in this dark, spirited porter. It was super herbal, deep, and smooth. Mmmhm.
I'm not too sure how I landed a glass of Elland's Beyond the Pale. It was a VIP ticketholder beer, and I wasn't one. Oh well. I'm just glad I had it, because it was fantastic. Light, fruity but not cloying, and it smelled like Christmas. I drank this one quickly, and asked for another glass even quicker. So delicious.FOOD! I decided to give my stomach something to hold onto, and ventured over to the food vendors.
I used to work in the Lower East Side, so I'm more than familiar with Roni-Sue's amazing handmade chocolate. But she was offering...Beer Corn???
Beer reduced to a delicious syrup, tossed with popcorn, pretzels, and mustard seeds. RIDICULOUS. Sweet, crunchy, salty, and tangy pop from the mustard seeds. Utter, beautiful insanity.
I decided to go for a bitter beer recommended to me from...an interesting gentleman. Sly Fox's Chester County Bitter was definitely that. I didn't like it at all, the bitterness was so overwhelming. Blech. Thankfully, a helpful and friendly volunteer pointed me to St. Louis's Schafly Imperial Stout. I'm a huge stout fan, but one cannot live on Guinness alone. This stuff was STRONG and assertive, and I was more than willing to obey.
To supplement all this cask goodness, Brewery Ommegang (one of my favorites) had some of their beers on hand, the cold kind. I was loving how the room temperature really let the cask beer flavors sing, but after a while the flavors were muddling my taste buds. Time for a cold one.
I tried the Maredsous Blonde and the Ommegang Zurr, which was a limited edition. ZURRRRRRRRRR!! Sour! Cherries! Snap crackle pop! I was in love. I was also refreshed by the chilly brew, and was ready to jump back to the casks.
This is when things start to get a little...foggy. I tried another VIP beer, The Bruery's Autumn Maple....YAMS! Rich, with a touch of sweetness. And after another glass of that, things got even foggier. All I remember is that they were delicious.
I had maybe, 4 or 5 beers after that, all different, all served with friendly and informative hands. I was struck by how proud the volunteers and brewers were. You could tell that this was their livelihood. I could taste it.
Thank you again, Get Real NY, for an amazing Sunday night!
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Ben loves to bake. He doesn't get too many opportunities as his mother's not big on baking and my dad's diabetic and loves things he can't want (and usually isn't willing to make things that are diabetic-friendly). But since I'm living with them and get restless when I go too long without presiding over and communing with the oven, Ben and I have begun baking together.
The recipe is from Joy of Baking and can be found here. Because I can never leave well enough alone, I amended it a titch. We'll get there.
Anyway, while he was juicing, I was mixing.
When the yolks are fluffy, gradually add the condensed milk and beat until you have a light and fluffy mixture (3-5 minutes). Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the lime juice and the lime zest.
You might also consider getting your zest together before you begin mixing things. I mixed the yolks and milk and then used the skeletons of those limes Ben was finished with to grate the zest directly into the mixture. Doing this also means I approximated the measurements. I eyeball. It's what I do.
Friday, September 24, 2010
I've been a busy bee for the past couple of days, but I just wanted to let you in on what's to come...
I was just in a Pie Bake Off thrown by Greenpoint Open Studios @ the Diamond Bar in Greenpoint BK...what a night. Amazing food, people, and prizes. Pics and a post are coming of course.
Speaking of pies...my very good friend Tana (aka Eatinist #2) will do a guest post about baking Key Lime Pie, yumm.
Tomorrow night is...LE GRAND FOODING!!!! New York's hottest new chefs are pitted agains San Francisco's offerings at MoMA's P.S. 1 in Long Island City.
And on Sunday...oh baby. I'm going to Sunday's 5-8pm session of the Get Real NY Craft Beer and Food Festival. There are still tickets, so make sure you get one. Also, today is the start of NY Craft Beer Week 2010...I've got my Beer Passport, do you?
Posts to come next week...hope everyone has an amazing weekend!!
Monday, September 20, 2010
Fornino Park Slope’s Chef’s Antipasti
What it Was: Cannellini beans marinated in paprika olive oil, topped with shrimp and cilantro (served room temp)
How it Tasted: The beans were very creamy, and the olive oil was nice and fruity with a little paprika kick. The shrimp was seasoned with a delicate touch, but I think the best part of the dish was the adorable presentation. Overall, not a stunner, but very good.
Mile End’s Cured and Smoked Beef Brisket
Was: Cured/smoked for 11 hours in a house spice blend. Served with homemade wholegrain brown mustard and homemade rye bread.
Tasted: This place definitely earned extra points for everything being made on the premises. The brisket was coal black on the outside and an alarming shade of pink of the inside. Since I abhor mustard, I asked if I could have mine without. They kindly obliged; I still felt like a punk though. First bite: SMOKY!! MELTY FAT!!! The meat was super tender and juicy, but it could have been spicier. I fell in love with the bread. It was bursting with rye seeds and had a tangy, soft crumb.
Osteria il Paiolo’s Gnocchi alla Bolognese and Vittello Donello
Was #1: House made gnocchi in meat sauce
Tasted #1: Now, I am VERY particular about my gnocchi (best in NYC - Supper, in the LES in tomato sauce adorned with garlic cream), so I was really eager to try theirs. The gnocchi itself was pillowy and melted in the mouth. The sauce was good, but a little too salty, and surprisingly thin. Isn't bolognese supposed to be super hearty?
Was #2: Thinly sliced veal with lemon in tuna sauce
Tasted #2: The veal was dry, the sauce tasted fishy and chalky. Ugh. I’m not a tuna fan, but I decided to be adventurous and give this a try. This just didn’t sit well with me.
Carino’s Tamales and Chorizo Taquitos
Was #1: Tamales with pork and sour cream
Tasted #1: I’ve never had tamales before, and I figured this was a good time to try. The mass was nice and creamy, and I loved how flavorful and moist the pork was. But I think would have enjoyed this more if it was actually hot. I figure this was b/c I was really early and the food hadn’t been given enough time to warm up. Other than that, I really liked them.
Was #2: Rolled up, fried tortillas stuffed with chorizo sausage. Sprinkled with queso fresco cheese.
Tasted #2: WHERE WAS THE CHORIZO FLAVOR? I love this particular sausage, and it’s usually spicy and delish. But, I couldn’t really taste anything other than…meat. Okay tasting meat, but just meat.
Branded Saloon’s (MY FAVORITE TABLE) Pork Butt Stew Topped w/Uncle Ricky’s Fried Corn and Cilantro Cream
Was: It was exactly that!
Tasted: Oh Lord, I could have eaten the whole pot. Perfectly seasoned, tender pork butt, tangy cilantro cream, fried corn kernels with BACON; this thing created a flavor parade in my mouth. It was served atop tortilla chips, and that added another texture dimension to the entire thing. I could have eaten this for days. DAYS.
Radish's Long Island Pulled Duck with Kimchi
Was: It was exactly that!
Tasted: I can say without a doubt, that this dish made me love duck.
Twinkling little pools of duck fat glistened on the surface of the gravy. The meat was juicy, smoky, rich, and not gamey in the least. The tangy kimchi brought a crunchy, bright flavor to the party that I adored. Absolutely delicious. Again, this place gets points for using seasonal, locally sourced ingredients.
There were one or two that I missed, but 1. I already had one misadventure with tuna, and 2. I was not trying to eat Humble Pie. My tummy isn't ready for offal quite yet.
Many thanks again to The Bell House and MetroMix for such a fun event!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Bread toasted in bacon grease, peanut butter, bananas, honey...and bacon. This was reported to be Elvis's favorite sandwich. The man was a druggie, but he sure knew how to eat!!! Sweet, salty, creamy from the bananas...AND BACON!!!
Fry up a couple slicees of bacon and reserve a tablespoon or so of the grease (approx. enough to fry both sides of the sammy). Slather your two slices of bread with peanut butter, drizzle some honey on each side. Take one banana, slice her up, then lay that on top of the honey and pb. Put it together and fry the sammy on medium heat until it's golden, brown, and delicious. I ate this with a huge glass of water, and fell asleep for 3 hours after.
Please don't judge me.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
No, I'm not Jewish, not even close. In fact, I'm Jamaican American, as well as a native New Yorker. Which I think makes me an honorary Jew.
I grew up a block away from an amazing Kosher bakery, so I was no stranger to rich, warm challah bread. My mother would go early in the morning before she went to work to pick up a fresh loaf for morning toast and another to get stale for weekend french toast. Around Purim time, there was Hamantaschen, the three cornered jam-filled cookies that represent the tri-cornered hat of Haman, the villain in the Book of Esther. sticky, buttery, and so crumbly-sweet. They'd make baby ones and HUGE ones the size of my 8 year old head. I would beg my mom to buy me the "super taschen" and she'd always refuse me.
On Sundays, my mom would make a bizzare egg-matzoh concoction for her breakfast: she'd whisk up eggs, and stirr in broken pieces of matzoh, and fry it in butter and olive oil. Sort of like a omlet. She'd spread it thickly with jam and serve it with, ugh, gefilte fish. The sight of these jiggling corpse-fish was enough to send me running, but she would dig into it with gusto, giggling at me while I made noises of disgust.
When I used to work on the Lower East Side, loads of people would come into the shop I worked in raving about Katz's Delicatessen's pastrami on rye. I could care less about that sandwich (I don't like pastrami), what I went there for was the latkes....oh dear God. Crispy, greasy, and just under the size of a dinner plate. Encased in a layer of tangy sour cream and applesauce, this was one of my favorite comfort foods, along with their chicken noodle soup, which was almost as good as my mother's. Almost.
I'm not sure exactly why I love these foods so much. Obviously they taste good, but there's something more. Maybe it's the history behind each dish, their origin stories. Or the perverse love I have for holiday meals. I think the real culprit is that it connects me to really good memories of my childhood; when I was full in my stomach, I was also full and warm in my heart.
Just don't try to feed me the gefilte fish.