The nights are drawing in and it’s the season to snuggle! With all this potential for autumnal romance in the air, we’re proud to present the results of another wonderful Love Bites in Greenpoint blind date!
Last week Lizzie, 30 and Dakota, 33 went for dinner at Greenpoint’s awesome Balinese restaurant Selamat Pagi (152 Driggs Avenue) and got to know each other over some fruity red wine and an amazing vegan chocolate cake.
But while their minds were blown by dessert, were they blown away by each other??! Continue reading →
While getting some to-go lunch at Radish (158 Bedford Ave.), I spotted a jar of Spiced Beer Jelly from Anarchy in a Jar. I’d never heard of such a thing, but the first ingredient on the label was Six Craft Ales, along with local apples, sugar, lemon juice, black cardamom, indonesian cinnamon, grains of paradise and all natural pectin. I gave it a go with some crusty bread and bleu cheese. This might be one of my new favorite jarred goodies, right up next to Bacon Marmalade. It is nicely spiced, apples are the prevalent flavor, and it is not too sweet or overly zesty. On cheese it is complimentary like a fig jam would be, but much more subtle in flavor. As for the beer, there isn’t a strong beer flavor, but it’s damn good.
One of Greenpoint’s best and proudly gayest bars is closing it’s doors. Over the past few weeks, everyone has been asking: “Is it true that VPC is closing?” The answer is sadly, yes. Why? Heather, owner, cannot comment. More dialogue from patrons: “What happened?” “That’s BS!” “I love that place!” “This sucks!” “Is it because it’s a gay bar?” “Noise complaints? “It isn’t loud!” “I don’t get it.” “Awful!” “Where am I going to watch drag race?” On and on…
The reality is: VPC’s party is over. Not only was it a great bar, with great cocktails and an awesome staff and crowd, but they supported the community, especially the art and food community…
The memories: VPC was the unofficial headquarters for Bring to Light. Antojitos Mexicanos Saturdays was the best Mexican food in town. There Cara Canella’s led her first Speak Easy Series. Morta Di Fame served rice balls to Greenpoint during it’s first Sicilian Sunday Supper Club. I wrote my check to Justine for Greenpointers.com over Mama’s “slammin” Mac n’ Cheese. I bought my best sweater at a VPC Vintage Pop-Up. Ugly Art Room’s Balls Out Fundraiser & Food Competition raffled off a cat castration from Greenpoint Vet to a girl with a puppy! Greenpointers was looking forward to making many more messes in Terrarium Class. And Veronica People’s Club was the only way I could get my lezzie friend Maria to visit me in Brooklyn for the Kielbasa party. She lives in Manhattan on the same block as Heather’s, VPC’s sister bar, and drove the waiters insane because she wanted a cocktail off the Heather’s menu. I will greatly miss their strongest espresso, which won a prize in the Greenpointers Espresso Tour.
I am sure everyone has their own great memories at Veronica People’s Club. We need places like this. Places that open their doors and let the little people do their thing, to support the art and food community and have a blast doing it.
Please drop by on Saturday at 2pm for a final farewell Veronica People’s Club!
$4 well drinks, draft, and wine
Plus, Antojitos Mexicanos at 3pm & Self-Portrait Project 2pm-8pm
At a recent Yummy Eats Dim Sum dinner with wine pairings by Wine By Design NYC, the food was the real super star. The food paparazzi were in full force and when Chef Joseph Yoon brought out each gorgeously plated dish, anxious hands held back until every iphone in the room recorded the food glory. That is what you get when you have an underground supper club filled with foodies and food bloggers. Food photo frenzy!
The food didn’t only look great but it tasted exquisite. And Lauren Johnson, our genius sommelier perfectly paired wine with each dish.
Don’t tell, but we drank 25 gallons of wine! And I actually learned a few thing. Normally I just gulp gulp gulp, but Lauren is a not-preachy-so-I-actually-listen teacher and gives great insight. She loves wine and it shows.
Like the first pouring, a Cava, which is comparable to Champagne, but has bigger bubbles (interesting!) has been drunk by the Spanish Royal family for generations. And “drunk” is a non-standard usage, but correct past participle of the verb to drink.
The cava was perfect with the first dish, the dish why I was there, my favorite dish ever: Tuna Tartare on Wonton Crisps. The fish was so fresh, so flavorful, with great texture and it wasn’t overly seasoned with ginger or soy sauce. The soft raw tuna on the crispy wonton was the perfect texture mix-up for my mouth. And it kept coming and I kept eating it!
Why did Joseph Yoon, Dim Sum Super Star, get into cooking? For the ladies of course. He had me at Tuna Tartare.
Next we had deep “double” fried Crispy Scallion Pancakes, executed perfectly with a ginger oil that Joseph prepares a few hours in advance with fresh grated ginger in canola oil.
The next pouring was a naturally effervescent Portuguese Vino Verde, which to me tasted earthy and fresh like a wine salad, and when you hold it up to a piece of white paper it has a gorgeous green hue. The dishes we paired them with were really fun, too.
Someone kept asking, “Does this have fish in it?” More for me, but did you read the menu?
Time for the most spectacular looking dish: Tempura Anchovy w/Wasabi-Sriracha Sauce. If you are scared of eating entire little fish bodies, fry them (or let Joseph do it) because anything fried is delicious. They were so flakey, not oily and not too salty.
Next was Lobster & Pancetta Wontons. I know your brain can’t handle this, but just hold on. They were everything you could ask from a wonton, crunchy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside, but oozing with creamy lobster and bacon!
The third pairing was a Pinot Noir. Such a great go-to wine, silky and smooth.
In my family, the only time there is complete silence is when we have a stunningly delicious dish in front of us and our mouths are too full to actually speak. I had a similar moment with Skirt Steak-Steamed Spinach & Quail Egg Wonton. Ooey gooey mini egg goodness and falling off the bone meat in a crunchy shell, but not for long because these were one biters for me. For once I couldn’t speak.
Braised Beef Short Rib Steam Buns time! The buns are so interesting to me, because they are so light, and combined with fresh greens it’s paradoxically like eating a salad sandwich with a lot of moist perfectly seasoned juicy beef. Best buns I have ever had.
Get this: Korean Pear w/Five-Spice Pork. I have to say this is my first dessert-time meat and I was really into it.
It went with the last pairing was with a “Grand Terroir” which when compared to the Pinot Noir in terms of colors was so light and bright. The wine was in a screwtop and Lauren explained: “This wine is meant to be drunk young!” which was followed by a heated discussion on screwtops vs. corks. With a wine not meant to be aged screwtops are the way to go.
For the kicker, we ended the evening with Maple Ice Cream w/Chocolate Bacon followed by a Late Bottle Vintage Port, which is made from grapes literally rotting (with fungus) off the vine, so you get a deep and rich almost raisin taste.
Thanks Yummy Eats and Wine By Design for a truly memorable (despite the gallons of wine in my brain) meal.
We are excited to announce our next class: Chutney Class with Drake from DP Chutney Collective. The class will take place on Wednesday March 14, 2012, 7pm at Good Yoga (73 Calyer St.) Learn to make and take home 2 fresh chutneys: coriander/mint & tamarind, and one cooked and unusual eggplant chutney, which will be canned. Class is $25 and includes all materials. Limit 12 people. RSVP to greenpointers (at) gmail.com. Our last class sold out quickly so sign-up ASAP.
Some visual credits: I shamelessly stole the poster design from Claire Typaldos, our Terrarium Class Instructor. And Jon Pywell made the awesome jar illustration!
We live in the best borough in the world! Instead of spending money on a plane ticket, we decided to take a much needed staycation in Brooklyn. Hotel Williamsburg was generous to sponsor Greenpointers for a two night stay, while we toured the area. We were tempted to lock ourselves in the hotel room and listen to records all weekend. The gigantic plush king size bed was a main attraction and we found ourselves making giant Xs and saying, “I miss you, where are you?” The window from the bedroom into the bathroom made urinating very interesting and the view of McCarren Park’s red tailed hawk pair was a score! We had an intinerary, not a very ambitious one. The beauty of the staycation is you don’t have to fit it all in because there is always next weekend.
Friday night we took the East River Ferry over to Dumbo for a nostalgic ride on Jane’s Carousel. There isn’t a better view of Brooklyn than from the ferry and there isn’t a better spot for an old timey carousel than under the Brooklyn Bridge, which is housed in a modern glass building. And $2 per ride makes this a great budget attraction. Continue reading →
Calyer, one of Greenpoint’s newest and most exciting restaurants, invited Greenpointers over for dinner.
It was a cold and rainy evening, which meant taxi service, which meant I could wear my impracticably high heeled “date night” boots. (The only hobbling I can do in them is from a car to a chair.) Boots on, date on!
When we arrived I immediately began confusing the wait staff, “We have reservations. A table for 8, please.” (I meant 8pm.) The place was pretty full and the hostess looked worried but was a doll.
After sorting that out, Virginia, the lovely manager gave us a corner table from which we could see the whole restaurant and sit beside each other, which I call “french style.”
The interiors are done in that Brooklyn, this-place-has-been-here-forever but not contrived style. The low ceilings give the place a cozy, sailboat cabin feel. Cocktails please!
We ordered a Siren Song (Pisco, St. Germain, Cava, Bergamot) & La Bebida De Los Dioses (Herradura Antiguo Tequila, Lime, Maple, Syrup, Chili & Xocolatl Mole Bitters). Both were mixed and balanced beautifully.
If the cocktails sound inventive, with a spicy spanish twist, wait for the plates, which are served tapas style, perfect for my over-ordering tendencies.
It’s fun to dine at a place like Calyer with a taste hound like Jon, because there is always a hint of a surprising flavor that is hard to put your tongue on. Was it tarragon in the amuse bouche of Squash Jelly with Sunflower Seeds? It’s even better when the wait staff is patient and knowledgeable and eager to run back into the kitchen to find out from the chef: allepo pepper, cinnamon and star anise. Ah!
Aside from delicious plates, it was great chatting with our waitress Cara, who is part-Sicilian (which means she is admittedly half crazy like me) and has an awesome blog called Write By Hand dedicated to hand fonts. What makes Calyer a Greenpoint restaurant is that it embodies what Greenpoint is, a great place filled with great and creative people.
Calyer has the kind of menu from which you want to order every plate, and since they are meant for sharing, you can. What follows is a description of some of those delightful, unexpected and exceptional dishes.
Scallop Ceviche (Corn Nuts, Aji Amarillo, Crispy Corn)
Yeah we said corn nuts! Don’t even get us started on these salty-brain massages. The scallops were fresh and sweet and the dish was well-balanced with heat from the aji pepper, and tang from the red onions and lime. This dish went perfectly with our cocktails.
Duck Confit Terrine (Quail Egg, Yellow Plantains, Dandelion Greens)
“Why is this duck square?” Layers of juicy duck leg between layers of plantains was topped with a perfectly runny quail egg that made up for the dryness of the plantain. Jon talked about this dish all weekend. I think he might be falling in love with duck. Home run duck!
Chicharones (White Bean Puree, Brussels Sprouts Leaves, Anchovy Vinaigrette)
When this dish arrived I wanted to ask for a side of antacid. Giant pieces of deep fried pork skin in what reminded me of a citrusy rock shrimp batter. I didn’t get any of the anchovy flavor. Deep fried anything is my motto, but maybe better for a late night bar snack and not smack in the middle of dinner.
Grilled Mackerel (Sunchoke Puree, Sunchokes, Citrus Salad)
Perfectly cooked fish with subtle char flavor. Sunchokes plus sunchokes equals earthy crunchy awesomeness. The citrus salad gave the dish a fresh kick. We killed it.
Brussels Sprouts (Chicken Sausage, Garlic, Culantro)
My favorite dish of the night, hands down. I have a thing for cruciferous veggies but it was the chicken sausage that stole my heart. Chicken sausage is an idea I don’t normally like, but this sweet and spicy, softly caramelized chorizo flavored chicken with pimentón, or Spanish Paprika, made me rabid (in a good way). It reminded me of the chicken and rice my Puerto Rican Godmother makes, and what do you know? The chef, Gabriel Moya, is Puerto Rican. The culantro here is not the same as cilantro and it was an unexpectedly fragrant garnish for this dish.
During the meal we enjoyed deliciously recommended white wine, the Javier Sanz Rueda and a red, the Primitivo Quines “Cono 4.” Then desserts cocktails (of course!)
‘Little Fox’ Toddy (Old Overholt Rye, Snap Liquer, Cinnamon, Whisky Barrel Ages Bitters & Butter – ding, ding, ding! – A winning cocktail. It’s warm, it’s buttery, it’s spicy and it’s whiskey-ey. Did I mention the pat of butter that melts into the glass?
Northside (Whipper Snapper Whisky, Aperol, Antica Formula, Old Time Aromatic Biiters) – We don’t remember this being memorable, probably because the toddy stole the show. I had to swat Jon hands from grabbing my butter cocktail. Mine!
We had two choices for dessert, so we went with both obviously.
Deconstructed Apple Pie
Self-explanatory: apples, pie crust, spiced walnuts. This would make a perfect apple pie but I wasn’t thrilled about eating the doughy pie chunks on their own. There wasn’t a crumb left.
Lemon Curd (Almond Crust, Pickled Kiwi & Kumquats, Kefir)
Lemon desserts are not what I normally order but this has become a new addition to my crave list. The sweet smooth of the lemon curd was well matched with the sour fruits and creamy kefir, all on a chunky almond crust. Outstanding.
We loved Calyer and talked about all the fun flavors we discovered well after our meal. The food, aside from delicious and inventive, was gorgeously plated and fun to photograph. The atmosphere was friendly and cozy. A perfect date place with great cocktails. I hope to return for brunch when that dreamy chicken sausage takes sandwich form!