Sunday, April 20, 2008

Warm Weather (Finally) = Outdoor Beer & BBQ at Fette Sau and Spuyten Duyvil

Pork Butt, Pickles and Beer at Fette Sau

Oh my lord, during my years in LA I forgot the pure bliss of those first really warm, sunny spring days. All things considered, this past winter in New York has been mild, but I spent most of February and much of March cursing the day I left southern California. But last Friday, oh last Friday--her 75 degrees of delicious sunshine made up for all of the gray, damp days earlier this year.

Trays of BBQ & Beer at Fette Sau, Brooklyn

What better way to celebrate such weather than an evening al fresco? J and I joined our friend Geoff for a night in Brooklyn, first at the car repair shop turned BBQ joint that is Fette Sau. Belly up to the counter and order your meat by the pound, then swing by the bar to pick up a beer in a mason jar. Prices are reasonable and the meat is tenderly terrific. I recommend a hearty squirt of the spicy mustard, and a seat at the outdoor picnic tables.

Beware the Beer Taps, Fette Sau, Brooklyn
Beware the beer taps at Fette Sau.

J & G, Spuyten Duyvil
J & G at Spuyten Duyvil as we waited for a patio seat.

After stuffing ourselves silly as we soaked in the last of the sun, we headed across the street to Spuyten Duyvil, a beer bar I've written about previously. We bided our time at a table in the front window until a spot opened in the garden patio. Here you feel as though you're in a friend's back yard, but with much better beer than any of your friends would provide. We headed home early, and Saturday morning I was back in the florescent-lit computer lab, crunching stats data. But last Friday was just a preview--summer's around the corner and I'll be damned if I set foot in a computer lab between May 13 and August 31.

Fette Sau
354 Metropolitan Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
nr. Havemeyer St.

Spuyten Duyvil
359 Metroplitcan Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Across the street from Fette Sau

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Good Things to Eat: Dosas, Dumplings and Triple Chocolate "Muffins"

Dosa at Jackson Diner

You know how fancy hotel brunches have a Belgian Waffle guy that makes them to order? Well, the Jackson Diner in Queens makes dosas to order during the $10 buffet lunch.

Five Fried Dumplings for A Dollar

Broke, but have a monthly subway pass? Take the train to 99 Allen Street on the Lower East Side and get five porky fried dumplings for $1. Look for the neon sign that says...wait for it...Fried Dumpling.

Three-Chocolate "Muffin" at Bouley Bakery

David Bouley would like you to believe that this is a Three Chocolate "Muffin." So you're free to eat one for breakfast the next time you're in Tribeca at 8 am. Take an extra minute to sit outside and appreciate the ridiculously delightful spring flowers outside the Bouley Bakery.

I want these in my apartment

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Swiss Chard Tart with the World's Most Expensive Puff Pastry

Really Expensive Puff Pastry Dough

Can you feel the quality radiating from the puff pastry in the above photo? Does it have an otherworldly, heavenly glow? Does it look like it costs $10 for one sheet? I hope so, because I certainly couldn't detect much of a taste difference than my usual Pepperidge Farms puff pastry. I know, I know, this stuff is locally made with "the finest churned sweet butter", not wacky transfats, but still. I bought it despite the price--it was all Whole Foods had, and I wasn't about to ruin my Sunday with a stop at Fairway. Plus, this tart is just too damn good to abandon because of puff pastry prices.

Swiss Chard Tart, before baking

Tart before baking.

This tart is my favorite recipes from Suzanne Goin's cookbook, Sunday Supper's at Lucques. Of all of her complex recipes, this has the lowest work to deliciousness ratio. The puff pastry crust is smeared with a ricotta and creme fraiche mix, topped with swiss chard that's already been sauteed with shallots, and a generous handful of crumbled goat cheese. You bake it in a 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, then serve it with a currant pinenut relish (recipe here).

Serve the tart with this lovely farro salad on the side, and you have an excellent meal when your vegetarian friends come over for dinner. For a version of this tart with spring greens, click here.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Antics at Antik, East Village (or why I'm an old lady)

Here's a shocker: I'm not a clubbing, crazy nightlife kind of girl. Sure, I like my chichi cocktails and fancy restaurants, but bottle service, velvet ropes and oonce-oonce-oonce through the speakers? Um, no.

After seeing a play tonight, J and I wanted to grab a drink and discuss. I'd read the following in Time Out about a new place on the Bowery, Antik:

There’s no bar at this burgundy-draped lounge from owners Larry Kramer and Craig Koenig ...Instead, cocktail servers transport drinks—like the Hi Ho (gin, white port and bitters)—from the back of the house to marble-topped tables. The goal is prohibition-era formality, a surprising endgame for a pair of nightlife impresarios whose previous projects adhered to the B&T-friendly Meatpacking and West Chelsea mold.

My reaction? A new place with aspirations to be the next PDT or Little Branch--and damn, the Hi Ho sounds good. Steps from our theater, a cozy spot for a well-crafted cocktail. Yeah, not so much. At 11 pm it was empty, yet the bouncer asked us if we were there for the private party. Um, no--just want a drink. Okay--he lets us in. The music is thumping, and the waitress looks at me blankly when I request a Hi Ho. J and I settle for $14, very weak Manhattans and attempt to discuss the show. The music volume continues to rise, and we are treated to a (admittedly delightful if random) breakdancing show from a staff member. By the time we leave 1/2 hour later, the place is still empty--I assume the cool kids don't arrive until well past midnight. At which time, I'll be tucked into bed.

356 Bowery between Great Jones and 4th Sts