Tag Archives: brooklyn

Peter Luger Steakhouse

15 Jan

Peter Luger is probably the most famous steak house in all of NYC, which is why I find it strange that it’s in Brooklyn. I’ve long wondered if that adds to the allure… “it must be good if people will brave the L train for it!”

I had been to Luger once before and hated to say I was underwhelmed. I mean, it was a very good meal, but I didn’t think it was better than places in NYC and didn’t think it was worth crossing the East River to eat.

But when friends from out-of-town wanted to try it, I was excited to go on a food adventure with them.

I certainly love the inside. It’s beautiful without being fancy.

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Someone suggested we try the bacon. And BOY am I glad they did. This was probably my favorite part of the whole meal. It was thick cut, perfectly cooked, a little charred on the ends. Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmmm.

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And they are famous for their tomato and onion salad. This… I do not understand. I mean I like tomatoes and onions just fine… but why is this special? 

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Though they did advise that we pour the Peter Luger Sauce (which is on every table) on it, and I will admit, it made the onions and tomatoes very tasty (and added great, but not overpowering flavor to the steaks, too).

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The steak ordering is incredibly easy from the menu. You tell them if you want steak for two, three, or four and out it comes. It’s a beautiful Porterhouse that they serve nicely carved and dish out to each person at the table.

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And you don’t get more perfectly Medium Rare than this:

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We also ordered the lamb chops so we could try some different things.  These were delicious and I’m glad we had some variation (as much as I love steak!)

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We got a side of creamed spinach, which I thought was really tasty and heavier on the spinach flavor than the cream (which I prefer).

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Mmmm… meat.

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Even though we were all totally stuffed by the end, we just had to try the ice cream sundae (which came with a chocolate cow on top).  This was heavenly.

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As was the pecan pie.  It was super pecany and not overly sweet. And don’t even get me started on that homemade schlag!

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As you leave, everyone gets some chocolate gelt to take home.  A nice little way to be reminded later of the great meal you had.

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I certainly enjoyed my meal this time more than last time, and I think the key was variation. Definitely get the bacon, try some sauce on some tomatoes and onions (why not?) and then order up some amazing steaks with some lamb chops.  Leave a wee bit of room for dessert and you’re perfect.

Do I feel the need to travel to Brooklyn for this on a regular basis? No.  I still think the novelty is good for tourists, but as a local, I’ll stick with Keen’s. (Though my arm could certainly be easily twisted to return to Peter Luger!)

Total Nom Points: 8 out of 10

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A Restaurant Is Born: The Paperwork is In!

12 Dec

It has been an unbelievably long road to open The Keys. (For a full recap of the story so far, you can start from the first post of “A Restaurant is Born”) The original open date was aimed for Summer 2012, and here we are at the end of the year, without a place to enjoy Chef Bill’s awesome food.

The owners were really the hold up here.  Paperwork just would not move along since there were so many cooks in the kitchen (pun intended) on the owner’s side.  They went through 3 different lawyers, and each new lawyer wanted his own new deal.  Once word came that they could move forward, it still took a full 5 weeks to get the contract together.  They had to figure out the exact terms to keep the owners on as partners (at 25%) so they still were invested in the restaurant to everyone’s satisfaction. Finally, the contract was signed this past week! It required 6 owners and partners to sign, from all over the world.

The design firm that was going to invest is no longer going to be used, because 10% is a big chunk to give away.  There is a new architect involved now named Shay who works for Perkins Eastman. He is busy getting measurements and putting the plans together so they can start construction the moment the lease is signed.  They hope this will be just a week or two away so they can be in there by mid-December. This will allow the Concession (you can read more about what a Concession from this previous post) to extend to March, giving the restaurant time to get on its feet.

There is a $150K budget for the full build out and equipment. The brick oven is a key piece of the restaurant, but repairing it will cost about $8K, so it has got to be worth it! Bill is busy figuring out some awesome dishes that can come out of it, including suckling pig, plank seafood, and, of course, the homemade bread.  (Bill is posting about some ideas on The Keys’ Facebook page. Go on over and become a fan!) Bill is also excited about putting in smokers, so he can make his own bacon and the bar can make smoked ice for cocktails.   The outside patio will get a new fortified roof so he can have an herb and chili garden on top.  He also plans to put a macro grower in the kitchen so he can grow some super sized greens.  The in-season menu is back in play.  Shay is already taking measurements and making sketches and I’ll be posting more about this in the next few weeks when things start getting really exciting and we see how the physical restaurant changes.

Bill is ambitious and hopes to have a Friends & Family opening by the last week of January.  He will start with dinner, then add lunch a month later, and brunch when the weather warms up.  There will be Jazz music downstairs, which will start up right at opening, and Bill plans to have some house instruments so that Jazz musicians will look at The Keys as a place to just stop by and jam from 11-4am.  There will also be a DJ on the weekends with molecular bottle service downstairs.  This is not going to be a club scene, however, and more for people who will be excited that the cocktails include homemade bitters.

I am excited to say that it is finally time to announce where the restaurant will be!  The Keys will be bringing great food and music to Mulberry Street, between Prince and Spring Streets, in the space currently occupied by the Australian restaurant, 8 Mile Creek.

Stay tuned in the next few weeks as the construction starts and the menu takes form!

Di Fara Pizza- Brooklyn

4 Sep

We found ourselves in Brooklyn with a whole lot of time to kill and an appetite for adventure and good food. I had recently read about the famous Di Fara Pizza so we walked about 30 minutes to grab a slice.  It was named Best Pizza in NY by a few of my most trusted Nomming resources, including my fave, New York Magazine.

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Di Fara has been owned by Dom DeMarco since 1964 and is a legend in Brooklyn. He was there the day we came in, making pizzas one after another.

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When we walked in, we were incredibly ignored by the pizza crew behind the counter.  I wasn’t sure if there was some process that I didn’t know about to order, but after some time, finally someone made eye contact.  

I had read that it can take hours to get pizza, but they weren’t too busy on this mid-afternoon Saturday.  BUT, they didn’t have a lot of by the slice options either, so we both went for square (I was hoping to try one of each, Sicilian square and classic round… but oh well).

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The place is tiny, pretty run down, hot, and perfectly old Brooklyn.  You could probably lick history off the walls (though I wouldn’t recommend it).

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I went with the artichoke.  

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It was so hot that it was nearly impossible to eat for a good 30 minutes.  And the tin foil was so stuck to the bottom that it required a lot of finger nail scraping to make sure we didn’t murder our fillings.  But once it cooled down, I really enjoyed it.

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Mike got a margarita slice.

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Which looked far too gooey and mushy, but wound up being really great.

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The slightly caramelized, crisp crust was impressive seeing as though the top was nearly soup.

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We both really enjoyed our slices, but was it the best pizza we ever had?  Mehhhh.  It was damn good, but probably not worth schlepping all over Brooklyn for, nor waiting hours.  But I’m glad we went.  I actually much prefer classic round pizza to Sicilian, so I wonder how my opinion would have been changed had we tried that. Perhaps next time! If we’re in the neighborhood…

Total Nom Points: 6.5 out of 10

A Restaurant is Born: Movin’ Again!

28 Aug

So… what is happening with The Keys?  (If you have no idea what that even means, I am currently documenting the opening of The Keys Restaurant in NYC by Chef Bill Seleno.  Please see Part 1Part 2, and Part 3, and Part 4 to learn more about the concept and menu.)

Everything was humming along back in June. A few delays had caused a few investors to back out, but a few others had come along. Bill got a big “yes!” from Crown Consulting and Design, the firm that is going to contribute by taking care of the build out.  Bill didn’t know how much their contribution would be and was hoping he wouldn’t have to trim his 1920’s concept back too much.  He was thrilled when they agreed to cover all build out expenses, without cutting any corners, for 10% interest in the restaurant.  

But the hold up is still the owner.  Turns out, the owner had to resolve a lot of financial issues before he could sell the space.  He dragged his feet for so long that Bill asked his broker to look for another space.  He happened to know someone who just came into a space, so they went to check it out. Bill told me that the space didn’t have some of the perks of the 1st place (which had 3 floors, a downstairs club area, and an outdoor space) but it did have an impressive kitchen.  But the space is really beaten up and has been vacant for weeks.  They also only have a liquor license until midnight.  Bill was set to negotiate for this space, and was hoping to receive a copy of the lease and the details about the space 2 weeks ago.  But, in what seems to be a trend, feet were dragged.  

Enter fate.

Bill met up with an old friend from his Gustovino’s days, Heather. Turns out, Heather had been trying to open  up her own restaurant for quite some time, but luck was not on her side. When Bill told her about his vision, she jumped on board.  She walked through both spaces with Bill, and said that the 1st place was really the winner. Heather really wants to get things done quickly, and signed on as a partner. She brings to the table her craft behind the bar and she is excited to use some of Bill’s chemistry vision in the drinks.  Turns out the delays brought about an opportunity for a fortuitous partnership.

As for the menu, Chef Bill may have to modify the menu to run his seasonal, local menu and will be utilizing the brick oven even more to maximize the resources he has at his disposal.  He plans to bake all the breads in house, including a table bread of sour dough dinner rolls with pearls of olive oil, gorgonzola cremificato, and olives.  He’s exploring adding a selection of meats and pizzas as well.

So how is Chef Bill staying afloat with all these delays? He has been all over the country catering various friend’s weddings and their kid’s Bar Mitzvahs. He will be working for a Kosher catering company throughout September. Heather will be his right-hand woman to take meetings and act on Bill’s behalf while Bill is out of town.  

The opening is now probably more likely to happen in February.  I’m amazed to see how much a restaurant opening can be delayed. Everything was on target for a July opening back when we started this project, and now he’s looking at nearly 9 months after that, and that’s only if the space can be secured in the very near future!

Thankfully, the owner of the 1st spot is currently being a bit more forthcoming, so Bill hopes he can secure the last of the information next week.

And then it’s full steam ahead!

Brooklyn Diner- “The Finer Diner”

7 Aug

We take clients out to all sorts of fancy restaurants, so when we had one request a trip to Brooklyn Diner, we quizzically agreed. We can go any place in Manhattan and you want to go to a diner? A diner called Brooklyn Diner? Which is in Time Square? And has the tagline “The Finer Diner?”

Well… ok…

Brooklyn Diner is the classic Times Square establishment with such a bright neon sign that it blends right in to the rest of the block. When we entered, I realize it’s part of a family of restaurants including Redeye Grill, Tratoria Dell’Arte, and Bond 45, all of which are in the general vicinity of midtown.  Turns out, I’ve been to all of their restaurants except Brooklyn Diner, and was actually quite fond of the restaurant family.  The food at each was always reliably good, if not above par for Times Square.  All are more than any normal person would ever want to spend, but hell, it’s Times Square, so good quality food seemed fair at their price.

Back to “The Finer Diner.”  

After a bit of teasing about this pick, we found out that our client’s heard from some of their coworkers that this place was very good, and happened to have a really good lobster roll.  Well ok!

I actually wound up getting grilled cheese with split pea soup. It was a very chilly day and this hit the spot.  The bread was perfectly crisp, the cheese full of flavor and melty without being a mess, and the soup had great flavor.

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I shouldn’t have been so skeptical!

They put hot dogs in it too, which was a fun (and delicious) twist on ham.

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Everyone else went right for the lobster roll, which they all said was very good.  Even their fries and onion straws were especially crisp and tasty.

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I was pleasantly surprised by Brooklyn Diner.  I guess my expectations were quite low (I can be so judgmental sometimes!), but I would recommend this place to anyone in the area looking for a casual and relaxing lunch before a Broadway show.  

Total Nom Points: 7 out of 10

The Great GoogaMooga: Food and Music Festival Review

19 May

Today, we went to The Great GoogaMooga, a Food and Music Festival organized by the same people that do Bonnaroo.  It was in Prospect Park Brooklyn and was billed as “An Amusement Park for Food.”  There were two ticketing options, free tickets or “Extra Mooga,” a $250 all-access pass to a special section.  That was all we knew when we logged on to get tickets. After a huge technical glitch leaving hundreds of people trying to get the free passes without tickets (me being one of them), they sent an apology and eventually made it right by sending me codes for the tickets I was owed.  I debated the $250 ticket, but that is a lot of money to swallow for an unknown!

There is another day of the festival (tomorrow, Sunday May 20th), so if you’re going, you should especially read on for tips and advice!

We took the F train to the west side entrance and we were surprised to see no signage about GoogaMooga.  We walked across the park (a good 10-15 minutes) and finally stumbled on it.  I was thrilled to see there was no line to get in, and when we go into the park, it was pretty spread out.

We quickly formulated a game-plan: There were 3 of us, so we decided to get 1 dish at each stand and split everything 3 ways so we would be able to try more things. I highly recommend this system for food festivals! Sharing is caring folks!

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They had different sections set up, and the first one we passed was The Hamburger Experience.  Lines were maybe 5-10 people deep and moving swiftly.  We said we would come back for burgers later in the day.  Sadly, that opportunity never came since it got very crowded later in the day.

One of the first things we realized is that there was NO service in the area… cell phone, text message, internet, WiFi… nothing.  I was bummed because I wanted to live blog pictures on Facebook (I found some service later and got the pictures up).

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Our first stop was at the M. Wells stand for Bologna Foie Gras Grilled Cheese.

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Yes… that says Horse Bologna.  I have to hope that it’s a type of bologna or a brand… trying not to think about it.

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The sandwich was on well toasted bread that held the sandwich together nicely without distracting from it.  The entire thing was VERY rich and some in our party said it was just “too much.”  I thought it was indulgent and a little too delicious.  The flavors were great together, but I’m glad that we split it 3 ways and I only had 2 bites.

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After this sandwich, we needed a drink.  We made our way over to the line where we were to get IDed and pay for a GoogaMooga glass and get some “GoogaMoula,” which was needed instead of cash in the Wine and Beer Tasting Tents.  The line was long, so we left Mike on line and went to get some water.  Upon arriving at the (very long) beverage line, we found out we could get beer at the stand, so we picked up some Blue Moon (a few of their more interesting beers were not yet ready) and went back to meet Mike on line.  It looked like he had moved way up, but, alas, a lot of people had just dropped out of line because they couldn’t get their system up and running.  About 20 minutes later (so a total of about an hour on line), some guy got up on a picnic table and apologized for the system being down and said that it wasn’t coming back up and we should try back in an hour.  Wow… thanks.  Glad we waited on line.

So on we went.

Orbit gum had a number of stands around, and they were giving out hot towels to clean up our dirty hands (along with samples of gum to clean up our dirty mouths).  When I took a pack of gum, the woman gave me a perfectly executed “fabulous.”  Nicely done.

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We made our way to the “Hamageddon” section, which was heavy on the pork stands and the 80s.  They had this great pig sculpture and inside that cage was, indeed, a whole pig on a spit.  Awesome.

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There were a few tempting stands in Hamageddon. Bacon Land instantly caught our eye with their Bacon Flight, but they weren’t ready yet.  They told us it would be another 30 minutes, so we went to the beverage stand to get more beers.  Sadly, even though that line was shorter than most, it was a good 30 minutes online to get beers, so we each got 2 at once.  Double fisting is the way to go!

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We went to the Porchetta stand (a restaurant I’ve been meaning to try for some time) for their porchetta sandwich.

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Porchetta is defined as “[slow] roasted pork with crispy skin, highly seasoned with aromatic herbs and spices, garlic, sage, rosemary and wild fennel pollen. Porchetta is known as having some of the best porchetta in the city (good name choice).

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The sandwich was basic.  Roll + Meat. And it was fantastic.  Packed with flavor and the seasoning was just to die for.  I got a crispy piece and it was damn good.

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Our next stop was Craft (a Tom Colicchio mainstay in NYC), where we got a Dirty Duck Dog.  This was a hot dog made of duck paired with pickled cabbage and black garlic.  It was our favorite nom of the day!  The duck was nice and flavorful and the sweetness from the black garlic was heavenly.  A truly perfect festival food.

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We took a quick trip to the sweet section of Googa Mooga.

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Very appropriately called the Sweet Circus.

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They had a number of favorites, but as we sipped our beers, we decided that our best bet was the Dirtcake at Katzie Guy-Hamilton (of Top Chef Just Desserts Season 2).

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The ingredients really sounded can’t miss.

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And I love that she buried the cups in “dirt” at her stand.  We had ours with whipped cream and extra worms.  It was FANTASTIC.  A nostalgic, updated and even better.

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We also ran into some friends who got the cheesecake bombs from James. I had a nibble and these were decadent and very, very good.

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Our next stop was to divide and conquer Red Rooster (Marcus Samuelson’s Harlem restaurant) and Arancini Bros.

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From Red Rooster, we had Berbere (an Ethiopian spice) Roasted Chicken, which came with orecchiette mac and cheese and a piece of corn bread.  The chicken was very moist and had a lot of flavor (somewhat curry like).  We asked if it had peppers (due to my allergy) and they said no, but we’re pretty sure it did.  The mac and cheese was very tasty.  Though I would probably skip this if I were going again.

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From Arancini Bros, we had Sicilian Rice Balls.

They were a good side, and fried crispy without being greasy or thick.

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One was Ragu with meat sauce and tomato, peas, mozzarella, and safron.  The rice was cooked well and it was full of flavor.

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The other was filled with basil, pesto, mozzarella, and cherry tomatoes.  This one was super duper.  Great flavor, just the right consistence, and the pieces of cherry tomatoes inside were the perfect addition.

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By the time 2pm rolled around, the park went from being pretty open to being shoulder to shoulder packed, with very long lines, and a struggle to find a place to sit in the shade.

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By this time, we noticed a line had formed at the Bacon Flight, so we assumed they were ready to go.  Well… they weren’t.  I’m not sure if people were just on line and waiting or if they were only serving a handful at a time, but the line didn’t move.  We were on it for over 45 minutes.  I grabbed a card while we were waiting and it explained the “flight” of 7 kinds of bacon, each from a different purveyor.

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We finally got our bacon, and matched them up.  They were all pretty good, but VERY greasy and certainly not worth the long wait.  I was especially excited about this one, because come on… a FLIGHT of bacon!  It was a good thought, but not great in execution, both due to the length of time it took to get out and the overall taste once we did get it.  We did REALLY like the Maple Bacon though.  Crowd favorite.

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By this time, we were beyond stuffed.  We walked around for a bit and noticed some amusing signs, including one that showed where the 15 minute wait section of the line was… just like Disney World.

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There was also the Pizza Experience, but we didn’t make it there either.

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And just before we headed out, we caught a glimpse of this hysterical note…

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GoogaMooga was certainly a fun experience, and since it was a beautiful day, some of the annoying things weren’t too bad.   They really did a very good job at advanced planning, but the execution was definitely lacking.  They even made an app, which looked very good, but upon arrival, it didn’t work… and we didn’t have internet to be able to use most of it anyway.  The system not working meant we didn’t get to the beer/wine sampling tents after all, which I’m sure meant for a huge loss of money for those guys.  The lines were just too outrageous by the end, and we wound up leaving by 4pm (so we didn’t see the headlining musical act that night, The Roots).

The initial organization left some things to be desired as well, especially with the ticketing system.  They also didn’t announce the musical line ups until long after they distributed the tickets, and I may have selected the Sunday date had I known that Hall and Oates was playing tomorrow when I had to make the call about which date to go.    Also, they billed the event as being filled with famous celebrity chefs and events… and then weeks later announced that would only be included in the ExtraMooga package (at $250!)

Now a word on ExtraMooga… At $250, it should be pretty outstanding.  And yes, the celebrity chefs were a great incentive for an extra price, but $250 extra?  Seems a bit steep.  And it said it came with free tastings and drinks from a few restaurants (but I’m still not sure if that included all the stands… and they would still have to wait on the long lines even if it did).  One FourSquare tipster mentioned that he was upset that ExtraMooga ran out of food… no bueno!

Sadly, we were just too full and couldn’t try everything.  I would have loved the opportunity to try the soft shell crab sandwich from Vinegar Hill (the line wrapped around half the grounds by the time we got there) and I didn’t get to see if the foie gras donuts from Do or Dine lived up to the hype.

Oh and we all noticed that they did a great job on the number of porta-potties.  You never had to wait on line for the bathroom at least!

So if you are planning on going tomorrow, here are a few tips:

  • Get there early!  I would say as soon as the festival opens (11am) and tackle the food lines you want first thing.
  • Go to the ID booth and get your “Over 21” bracelet.  Some of the beverage stands distribute them as well, so you can kill 2 birds with one stone (Bracelet + Beer).
  • Check if the GoogaMoula is working. If it is, get that first.  The lines all day were hundreds of people long.
  • Get 1 portion of each food and split it with a few people, so you get to eat more.
  • Bring cash. The stands don’t take cards and the ATMs (which are on the grounds) charge $4… thems Vegas prices!
  • There is no cell service, phone nor internet… so if you separate from your friends, have a meeting place and time in mind or work on your smoke signals.
  • Don’t depend on the app to work.
  • Wear sunscreen!  We all got burnt, even though we had sunscreen on.

It WAS the first year… so we expected it to be a bit of a shit show.   Was it too much of a shit show that I regret going? Not at all!  The food is what I was there for, and the food was damn good. And it’s hard not to enjoy a beautiful day in Prospect Park, even if it’s on a long, long line.
Thanks for nomming! Come on over and Like NYCNomNom on Facebook and come back here often for great NYC food updates.

 

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

20 Oct

 

 

 

Right on the edge of Brooklyn, under the Brooklyn Bridge in Greenpoint, lives the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory.  I had never been, simply because I always walked across the bridge, which you do a few feet before this place (which is right near Grimaldi’s famous pizza as well).

I went with a friend on a very hot day and we stood in the (very hot) line in anticipation of homemade, small batch ice cream.

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I went with Butter Pecan and I was very pleased with the flavor.  The pecans kept their crisp but benefited from the sugars and perfectly buttery flavor.  I always say that good butter pecan ice cream should taste like the ice cream version of a good pecan butter cookie.  This was exactly that.

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My friend got the coffee, which they are known for, and it was probably the best coffee ice cream I have ever had.  It was like the difference between watered down instant coffee and an amazing, freshly made espresso.  Super intense and just sweet enough.  So good.

And the view is pretty damn amazing.  The Brooklyn Bridge’s famous double arch is right between our cones…

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Worth the journey!

 

 

Alchemy (Brooklyn)

21 Feb

We were wandering around Brooklyn on a rainy evening after seeing a fantastic exhibit at Brooklyn Art Museum (Norman Rockwell… it’s thru April 10, 2011), looking fora  place to grab a bite.  We walked by a number of places and used Urban Spoon to find a recommended place.  Before we knew it, we had wandered to 5th Ave in Park Slope to find Alchemy (56 Fifth Avenue at Bergen Street).

Inside, there were a few small tables and then a few communal tables.

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We started with Herbed Goat Cheese in Philo Dough with watercress, pears and lime vinaigrette.  The Philo was perfectly crispy and the salad underneath was very good.  I also loved how the goat cheese paired with the pear.

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We got brussels sprouts and shells and cheese with bacon and peas as sides.  The sprouts were DELISH!  The shells and cheese needed more depth.

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Mike got the burger.  It was well cooked and the fries were well crisped.

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I chose the Grilled Hanger Steak (all natural angus beef) with herbed butter, mashed potatoes and kale.  The potatoes were DELICIOUS and the steak had a good char.  And what could be wrong with butter on steak? Nom nom nom.

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I’m always skeptical of kale that isn’t crispy, but this was perfectly cooked so the ultra bitter taste was gone and it was just delicious, greeny, garlicky goodness.

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The dessert menu had some great options…

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But I had to choose the Sticky Guinness Pudding with toffee sauce and candied hazelnuts.  How could I not?  And MMMMMM was it good!  I wanted to lick the plate.  The pudding itself was a bit overcooked, but the flavors were so good that it didn’t even matter.

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I don’t know why I am constantly surprised by how good food can be in Brooklyn.  We have been pretty lucky with our BK Stumble Upons.  Overall, Alchemy was better than good.  The price points are close to NY, and the food is NY quality.  I would go back here in a heartbeat.  I would love to try Alchemy for brunch.

Total Nom Points: 7 out of 10

Nomming through Brooklyn

15 Jun

This past weekend, Mike and I had two separate parties to attend in Brooklyn, so we took advantage of the last month that he lives in Park Slope to explore some more of Brooklyn.

Our first evening was in Williamsburg, so Mike did some research and found a restaurant called Dressler, which was right near Peter Luger Steakhouse.  The restaurant had an old feel, but was beautifully decorated and well set up. 

The menu looked fabulous and we had a hard time deciding.  I started with the artichoke heart salad, which was a huge cooked artichoke heart filled with cranberry beans (which resembled white lima beans) and greens with artichoke dressing.  As an artichoke lover, I was quite happy.  Mike had a quail appetizer which was tasty but a bit on the small side (though I can’t fault the restaurant for that since quail are certainly small).

Mike ordered the pork chops, which were good, but not the best I’ve had. 

My meal, however, was amazing.  It was a grilled sirloin with braised short ribs in a bordelaise sauce.  It came with creamed spinach and boulanger potato (which turned out to be an amazingly flavorful, gratin like potato).  The short ribs were terrific and the sauce was perfect.  Thoroughly enjoyable.

We capped off with a dessert special: apple tart with sweet glazed pecans and vanilla ice cream.  Probably one of the best tarts I’ve ever eaten.

Total Nom Points for Dressler: 7.5 out of 10

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The next day we spent our time walking around Park Slope and made a stop in the Prospect Park Zoo.  It was a great, small zoo and we had a very good time.  By 3pm, however, we were famished.  We glanced at a few menus and stumbled upon Belleville on 5th and 5th.

I went with the special crepe, which had gruyere, onions, and herbs.  The flavors were great and the crepe itself had great taste, however, it was only about 1/4 filled, which was dissapointing.

Mike went with the burger, and it was tasty (I love when meat tastes like meat) but not too special.  The fries looked great, but were certainly lackluster in taste.

Total Nom Points for Belleville: 5.5 out of 10

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On Sunday we were on our way up Park Slope to a party at Union Hall (great party bar! Loved the library).  On the way, we stopped in at Rachel’s Taqueria on 5th Ave at 7th Street.  We had been there once before in a terrible monsoon of a rain storm and drank margaritas until the rain passed.  I wasn’t sure if I enjoyed it so much because it really was good, or because the margaritas were so good.  So we decided to give it another try.

Now for me, Mexican is a novelty.  I am allergic to peppers, which for the part means Mexican is something I avoid.  Sometimes, however, a restaurant will work with me and be very clear about what does and does not have peppers.  Rachel’s has succeeded twice now and I’m still not sure if I like it so much because it’s so new to me or because it is quite good.  Mike seemed to think it was average, though  I thoroughly enjoyed my burrito, which was huge and had shredded pork, rice, beans, sour cream, and cheese (no salsa nor guac due to the peppers).

Mike had a very messy though delicious looking chimichanga.

Total Nom Points for Rachel’s: 6 out of 10