Archive for September, 2008
Last Saturday evening we went out with a couple friends to the new restaurant called No. 7 (named for its location at 7 Greene Avenue in Brooklyn). We didn’t order any apps as we had snacked at home (more to come on that), so we went straight for the entrees. The menu is quite small, and we had four of the five selections, all pretty good.
Both the cod with cockles and chicken were both served au jus (though on the menu the jus for the cod was called “fumet”) that was poured at the table. The chicken was stuffed and rolled and served with asparagus and carrot puree. Purees are big on the menu—an asparagus puree accompanied the lasagna as well. The lasagna wasn’t the standard red-sauce type, but very creamy and covered in melted gruyere. It was delicious, and accompanied by a salad with a very bright citrusy dressing. The dressing would have been too acidic on it’s own, but was a perfect complement to the creamy lasagna. The salmon was tasty enough and served with a scallion latke that was more the shape and size of crab cake than a latke, but a good accompaniment to the salmon in any case.
For dessert, the four of us split two, one a special: a blue cheesecake with champagne grapes. The other was a chocolate sesame cake with peanut butter, chocolate ganache, and a side of homemade ginger beer. I suspect we should have taken our waitress’ persistent urging for us to order the vanilla and banana pudding to heart: both desserts were losers. The blue cheese cake just tasted like fluffy, diluted Maytag. The only sweetness in the dish was injected by the grapes, and that just wasn’t enough. And it didn’t work as a cheese course either, as the flavor of the blue cheese was diluted by another flavorless cheese (or cream, or something). The dish, as my disappointment, is hard to describe. One dining companion observed that the chocolate sesame cake tasted just like sesame noodles. Which is good if you want sesame noodles, not good if you want chocolate cake. The ginger beer was tasty and refreshing, however. Both desserts were just a little strange, and not terribly enjoyable, which if anything, dessert should be.
As to the service: No. 7 is newish, so they are clearly still working things out. I am a little annoyed after reading other reviews online that we were supposed to have been served a complimentary bean dip and pickles at the beginning of the meal. We weren’t offered anything except water (oh, except we asked for that). Our waitress was very sort of familiar with us, in a chatty, “Hey, let’s act like we’re friends!” way. After telling us the specials, she went away and came back promptly; one of us ordered the pork chop special, to which she responded that they were all out. In the two minutes that lapsed, they ran out of pork chops? Anyway, as I said, they are new and figuring stuff out still.
All in all, it was definitely good enough that I would go back there, but maybe after they have expanded their menu a bit and worked out the service kinks.
7 Greene Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11205
[no phone listing]
P.S. Sorry for the lack of photos. I forgot my camera! Bad Gastronormous!
Photo courtesy yelp.com
Posted by: Erin in Feeder
The Vendy Awards finalists have been announced! [via Midtown Lunch] And, P.S., forget about the food, who designed this awesome lucha-libre logo with a fire-breathing taco dude wrestling a mustard-wielding hot dog dude??
Today is free ice cream day at your local Cold Stone Creamery! Donations go to the Make-a-Wish Foundation [via Gothamist, via Midtown Lunch]
It seems I can’t go a week without mentioning Mark Bittman. Here is his cornbread recipe, which does indeed seem “easy and forgiving” as he says. Last time I made cornbread I used a stone-ground-type cornmeal from the health food store, and it was really awful. That was enough to turn me off of cornbread for while, but I might just be inspired to try it again now…
If Molly’s slow-roasted tomatoes from the Amateur Gourmet don’t make you drool, then don’t come over to my place on Saturday, because that is when I might give the recipe a try.
The only downside to this great post about banana ice cream (with cocoa nibs and mace!) is the lack of photo of said ice cream. [via Epi-Log]
Zowie. The new JFK Jet Blue terminal will offer 400 different wines at restaurants throughout the terminal. 400!! The terminal will also boast many gourmet, organic, kosher, etc. items. And, you know, Dunkin’ Donuts too. [via Grub Street]
Posted by: Erin in Products
Every time I go over to the apartment of some friends of mine, I drool over this super cool knife holder they have. Designed by Martin Robitsch, it is basically a beautiful wooden box filled with what look suspiciously like skewers, which act to hold your knives in place. It is just so much cooler looking than those weird, huge angled ones with the slots. Plus, this one is universal, meaning you can put your Henkels paring knife, your Wusthof chef’s, and your unagisaki hocho (you have one of those, right?) all in one block! (Bonus: Craving satay? You are set for implements!)Â The drawback is that is is a bit on the expensive side. [$125 at Greener Grass Design]
Here is a similar one, but with tightly packed black plastic straw type things, and also at a slight angle rather than upright. One reviewer on Amazon complained that his extra sharp knives shredded the plastic, so if you are a knife-sharpening maniac (and if you are, I’m scared), this might not be the one for you. It sure does look cool, though. [$37.96 at Amazon]
For me, the block debate is a moot one for now; in order to maximize counter space, we have opted for one of those magnetic jobbies that you drill into the wall. But one day, perhaps when we live in an actual house with a generously sized kitchen, the Robitsch block will be mine. Not to mention an unagisaki hocho.
Posted by: Erin in Products
This vanilla extract stand-in is chock full of vanilla bean specks, so you can totally fake out your guests into believing you put expensive whole vanilla beans into that panna cotta you are serving for dessert. Not that I would engage in that type of culinary subterfuge. I draw the line at not correcting the book club’s assumption that the cupcake batter was not from a box. What? What? So I am not a baker, sue me. The frosting is honest, at least. Speaking of which those little flecks would look phenomenal in a vanilla frosting….
[Vanilla Bean Paste, $10.99 for 4oz at Spice House]
Posted by: Erin in Food Events
A chile pepper festival? In Brooklyn? It might seem odd for a southwestern staple to be celebrated in a northeastern city-within-a-city, but really it couldn’t be more natural. Brooklyn is home to people who hail from (or are descendants of those who hail from) countries and cultures where the fieriest fruit is a bedrock of cuisine, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden lays at the crossroads of them all.
I am especially looking forward to the cooking demonstrations this Saturday at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Garden’s 15th Annual Chile Pepper Fiesta, but the Festival has lots of entertainment to offer, from music and dancing, to chile tattoos and jewelry. Don’t miss Matt Timm’s Chili Takedown (you might remember the fondue takedown I attended) at noon. Well, I might miss it. It’s at noon. That is early in Eastern Saturday Time. But it’ll be great! Nearby there will be Thai fruit and vegetable carving, which sounds fun (intricately carved fruit and veggies freak me out a little for some reason, but still, I am fascinated by it!). And legendary folk musician Pete Seeger is perfoming a rare concert at 4:30 (his name might not be immediately familiar, but trust me, you know at least 90% of his songbook).
See you there!
With the Hubs working late, I spent a lonely Friday night at home with only a quesadilla, my dog, and multiple episodes of Dog Whisperer to keep me company. Not healthy on so many levels.
On Saturday evening, we went to dinner and a movie. The movie was at the Brooklyn Heights Cinema, so we planned on going to Noodle Pudding, a nearby Italian restaurant we went to ages ago and thought was just ok, but have since met so many people that are devoted to that place that we thought we’d give it another try. Unfortunately, there was such a mass of people waiting outside to get in, that we knew we wouldn’t make it out before our 9:15pm movie started. We considered going to the endearingly old school Chinese joint, Fortune House, but thought better of it once we remembered that Siggy’s was also in the area.
Siggy’s is a great little neighborhood cafe and restaurant with an eclectic, all-organic menu. The counter up front lets you know that it is unequivocally part juice bar, but don’t let that fool you. Siggy’s offers a full dinner menu and now serves (organic) beer and wine as well. I had the pesto pasta, which was chock full of firm grilled baby artichokes and kale. It was a bit too oily, but had great flavor.Â I didn’t leave a bite on my plate (though had some help from the Hubs). Unfortunately, The Hubs veggie burger was a little lackluster. It looked beautiful, but Hubs thought it was little too black-beany. I thought it just wasn’t very flavorful. It might have been helped by the addition of salt and/or other seasonings. It was the single disappointment to the meal. To drink we chose the Frey cabernet sauvignon. Despite its being organic, biodynamic, and sulfite free, it was really quite enjoyable, especially after it was given a chance to breath. It was rich, fruity, and spicy, almost in the vein of a California zinfandel, and with a not unpleasant hint of chalk (yes, chalk.Â distinctly chalk).
As the dessert selection consisted of apple pie or brownie (the latter of which were wrapped in cellophane on the counter at the front), we decided to get a little something sweet at the movie theater. Something cool about Brooklyn Heights Cinema is that in addition to the obligatory goobers and sour patch kids, the snack concession also offers cookies, brownies, and hot coffee and tea. We opted to share a chocolate chip cookie from Baked. I’d say it was an average chocolate chip cookie. It is probably better fresh from the bakery, and since I have no idea how long the cookie had been sitting in the lobby of this theater, I will not make a pronouncement about Baked’s cookie quality. I would like to try their oatmeal cookie next time I am in Red Hook. (By the way, the movie we saw was The Pool. It was a pretty cute movie, and I would recommend it, though you can wait for video–it isn’t one of those movies that must be seen on the big screen.)
On Sunday, we met friends for Sunday Brunch at Frankies 457 Spuntino. I finally had the french toast and it was all I hoped it would be. Unlike other brunch spots, they really know how french toast should be done. The Hubs noted afterward that he didn’t like the fact that the only egg dish offered was frittata (and an unimaginative frittata sandwich). While this fact might actually be weird, I put my fingers in my ears and refused to hear it, and kept dreaming about the french toast.
76 Henry St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Gastronormous is looking for contributors!
Gastronormous is searching for new and unique perspectives to write about the culinary world. If you have an idea for a regular column, or if you want to explore all facets of food, from cooking to eating out to shopping for kitchen gear, please let us know.
This is a Brooklyn-based blog and we would prefer to have NYC writers, but would consider using writers from other parts of the country as well, depending on the types of stories you are interested in contributing.
We are ideally looking for one post a week from you. As of now, there is no compensation for the gig.
If you are interested, please use the CONTACT US form (link above).
Posted by: Erin in Feeder
Celiac sufferer’s nightmare, vegetarian’s dream: Accidental Hedonist has some interesting recipes for seitan (aka wheat gluten), including some delicious-looking country fried seitan “steak.” I had no idea you could make seitan at home. I have only ever seen it premade at the health food store! There are also pics of some crazy Asian prepared seitan–in a can!Â
An interesting take on a beet and goat cheese salad can be found over at Food Mayhem.
Like Smitten Kitchen, I have never much liked the official NY cookie: the black and white. Perhaps, as she suggests, it is just because I have never had a homemade one. Her recipe look pretty great! (And there is some interesting info on the history of the cookie too!)
Matt Bites writes about the other Santa Fe culinary staple (besides enchiladas, duh!): green chile burgers. The roasting of hatch green chiles is a ritual in the almost religious devotion to chile encountered throughout the Southwest, and most especially in New Mecxico. If ever there were a stunning burger, Matt’s is it. His photos in general make me ache—such is their beauty.
I went to Santa Fe weekend before last for a family reunion (The Hubs family) and also to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Santa Fe is a truly special place (it is The City Different, as they say), and if you haven’t been, I highly recommend you add a new folder to your “places to visit” file.
We happened to be there for the annual Fiesta, which started out with the burning of Zozobra, or Old Man Gloom. The ol’ sourpuss is pictured here, pre- (left) and during-burning (below).
The next morning, unburdened of all the accumulated gloom of the last year (of which, for me, happily there wasn’t much!), we went down to the historic Plaza where there were all sorts of food and craft booths set up. We ate lunch at a restaurant that is popular with local and tourists alike, The Shed. If you want to make like a local, ask for a fried egg on top of your enchiladas. I swear you will impress the waiter with your Santa Fe savoir faire. Unlike the other New Mexican restaurants around town, the shed serves garlic bread with every meal (in place of sopaipillas), which is great for sopping up their delicious red chile sauce (which is also available for purchase there for $7.95 for a 16 oz. jar).
You don’t need me to tell you that Santa Fe has a lot going for it, but the many muy delicioso New Mexican food restaurants might just be what I appreciate the most! I have bemoaned the lack of good Mexican food in New York before. One of my chief complaints is that not many places here get enchilada sauce right. Most places in NYC put a bright red tomato sauce on enchiladas, which, I dunno, may be authentic in some part of Central or South America, but every enchilada I ever had growing up in California is red- or green-chile-based (or maybe tomatillo). The same goes doubly in New Mexico, where people take their chile seriously, and the sauce goes on almost everything, not just enchiladas.
I have never had a bad chile in Santa Fe. I like a really hot chile, and if you do too, then I would recommend to you Guadalupe Cafe or Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen, which are two of my favorite restaurants there (though I hasten to add that there are so many places that I, a relative new comer to Santa Fe, have not yet tried). Their chile is not for the faint of heart, but their food is delicious.
In between reunion activities, we made it back down to the Plaza for the children and pet parade, which was totally hysterical. Afterward, we grabbed some food and beverages from some of the food stands. The Hubs and I shared a Navajo taco that was just okay. It didn’t have much flavor and isn’t worthy of much discussion or a photo here. I had a yummy papaya agua fresca, though, and The Hubs had a young coconut juice served en coque, and presented with this awesome parrot and pom-pom straw. Much to my disappointment, the Hubs “accidentally” tore the frou off the straw soon after I took the picture. He described the drink as “pungent” which I took to connote badness, but after I tasted it I knew what he meant. It was the most intensely coconuty coconut-flavored anything I have ever had. More coconuty than coconut. It is hard to explain. But try one some time.
The trip to Santa Fe was too short and I left, as I always do, longing to return. And this time, with a renewed and vigorous desire to move there. Some day!
Posted by: Erin in Products
I know what you are thinking. Finally! Thank the Lord! Right?
Watching your waistline? Your favorite lite canned “pork with ham [and] mechanically separated chicken” * product now comes in single serving packets, lest you be tempted to eat an entire can of Spam Lite in one sitting! And now you can take a single serving of Spam Lite with you to work so you can, um, you know, assemble your Spam Lite sandwich on the fly? Or if you have been wishing you could rustle up some Spam Confetti Pasta for one, your day is here!
Can be found in the Pork Hocks aisle of your grocery store.
* Actual information from label.