Category Archives: Eats Meats West

Curbside Garden Diary: Weeks 7-10

As has become a common affair when tending to the garden, I had a very long conservation with my neighbor, the president of the block association. I learned that she has lived in our neighborhood 46 years and has gardened down the street for over 20 years. I was impressed. They apparently just installed a sprinkler system. She said that other people often ask her what the fronds on the street side of my garden are, and I explained they are asparagus sprouts. She pointed out that my zucchini so far had only male flowers and that the female flowers have little nubs on them that produce the vegetable. You’re supposed to pick off the male flowers and eat them, since they’re otherwise useless.

She also suggested I plant more perennial flowers next time.I couldn’t care less about that, but I held my tongue. She warned me squirrels might eat the tomatoes. What tomatoes? Fuck! I didn’t think of that, though. I was more worried about animals on the ground, but squirrels are crafty. We closed the conversation speaking about how people bring their dogs to her garden even though there are signs. She said one once told her it was fine for the plants, because dogs are natural. Yes that makes sense! We both agreed dog piss was not the same thing as grass-fed cow manure. I felt a little bad for her.

How has the garden fared as the summer has dragged on? Continue reading

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Colonie

I tend to feel late to many New York restaurants, and Colonie is no exception. I’m “late” in the sense that it’s been on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights for a while now. Years ago I remember filling a rental car up with gas across the street once, watching as a scene from Gossip Girl was filmed. Yet it remains a new restaurant in my mind, and I’ve been in no rush. Given that the owners apparently couldn’t afford a “y” I felt secure in my aloofness.

Odd spelling aside, it was on my 28th birthday that we finally stopped in for a bite and a drink. Though we didn’t have reservations (and my cloying “but it’s my burfday” sad face didn’t work), we were able to sit at one of the high chairs overlooking the kitchen. These seemed like the best seats in the restaurant. What could possibly go wrong? Continue reading

Food Porn: Char No. 4

Ah, the fourth char. One of the best, right? It’s way way better than the third char, but not as good as the sixth?

Oh, it’s a restaurant? Shit, I totally knew that. Eats Meats West is totally not on an anniversary vacation at Comic-Con. And totally not phoning it in with more food porn.

But here I am. Here you are. Here we are. And here is some salivating food photography, courtesy of Char No. 4. Continue reading

Nom Wah Tea Parlor

Immediately after being seated at Nom Wah Tea Parlor’s vintage delicatessen counter (after kicking out two straggler girls that weren’t eating), I was fully on board. Nom Wah underwent major renovations in 2010, making it paradoxically New York City’s oldest yet most contemporary — in a retro-modern way, of course — dim sum house. Continue reading

Food Porn: Henry Public

Henry Public is just not good for brunch. I want it to be. But it is really not a brunch spot. It just isn’t. Sure, they technically have a brunch menu, but even basic things like hot coffee appear to be a total mystery. The service has never quite been lacking, but there’s certainly no urgency to the staff’s attention to your needs. Overall, I’d say there is somehow something very unsatisfying about it all, which is a shame given how wonderfully comfortable, charming, and novel this neighborhood bar really is [at night].

For whatever reason, I’ve only ever gone to Henry Public when we have guests visiting. Perhaps it’s the thrift store-sourced interior, or the variety of house-this and house-that (pepper vodka, pickles, etc.), or the frequency with which it appears in travel and food magazines, but Henry Public is a consistent “must.”

Regardless, the food is not worth reviewing in details, so instead I present Eats Meats West’s latest food porn installment:

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Green Soup: Garlic scape, English pea, scallion

I am a terrible soup maker. This is an amazing soup. You should make it. Go to your farmers market and pick out three green vegetables that look beautiful. Just three! Don’t overdo it.

This past weekend I noticed a pile of very beautiful English peas — something I don’t often find in the grocery store. Hunting around a bit more, I found wonderfully curly garlic scapes (the stems of garlic bulbs). They have a flavor somewhere between garlic and chives, and they are very crunchy. Rounding things out are scallions — both the bulbs and greens.

For this recipe I’ve tried to include actual quantities and cooking times, but on the other hand this is the kind of recipe that you can adjust to your liking without ruining the inspiration. Continue reading

Curbside Garden Diary: Weeks 5-6

It has been about two weeks since I last checked in on Gertrude’s Garden. I keep thinking that each diary post will be the last for a month — since this is, after all a somewhat mundane topic — but so much has happened! Firstly, almost all of the plants have absolutely exploded in growth, as you can plainly see.

The lone asparagus is now absolutely huge, despite being knocked over by people carelessly exiting their cars. What do they think this is, a street? I say “lone,” but clearly the asparagus has begun populating its niche in earnest. I count at least a dozen fronds at this point, and more stems seem to be poking through the dirt each week. Continue reading

Food Porn: Bin 54 Steak and Cellar

Occasionally here at Eats Meats West we will partake in an interesting meal — complete of course with helpful moments of food photography that are awkward for everyone involved — that nonetheless don’t merit a full review. If looking at pictures of food that other people ate is your thing, well today is your lucky fucking day my friend, because these lovely gems are finally going to get some exposure! Photography pun.

Today we’re looking at Bin 54 Steak and Cellar in Chapel Hill, NC. Funny Nurse lost an Oscar bet and treated Eats to a fantastic meal consisting of a wedge salad, prime dry aged New York strip, shared cheddar bacon grits & haricots verts, and too many old fashioneds. We recommend you go to this place. Oh yes, we do. Continue reading

Brooklyn Fish Camp

On one particularly pleasant Saturday afternoon, J and I decided to walk due east of our apartment in Cobble Hill until we stumbled upon a restaurant we’d 1) probably always wanted to try, yet 2) didn’t really have any plan as to how to find said establishment. Crossing the treacherous zone known as 4th Avenue in Brooklyn, we eventually made it to Park Slope’s 5th Avenue restaurant corridor.

“I should get some cash. These places never take cards,” I said. As I turned around from the ATM, I saw it. Brooklyn Fish Camp. Continue reading

Curbside Garden Diary: Week 4

As one of the primary purveyors of BTYM it’s always interesting to see what content strikes a chord. Even though I’m constantly surprised by what is popular and what isn’t, I never would have thought little old Gertrude (the curbside garden) would draw such a digital crowd to mirror her analog fans. This is a diary about a tiny [but lovable] plot of land that is not going to see many changes until later in the summer. It feels like the updates are going to slow to a maybe monthly basis, since most of the activity has happened…for now.

Nonetheless, I have some news to report. Continue reading

Curbside Garden Diary: Week 3

Another week, another old lady and her granddaughter stopping by to admire and express how much they love my curbside garden. “Yah, yah…it’s majestic and unique. I know,” my eyes seem to say to them as a I pain to turn off the music with my grubby soiled hands.

Speaking of dirt, I vastly underestimated how much of it I would need. I could not be less enthused about carrying it, surprise surprise. By my calculations, Gertrude needs approximately 4-5 fucktons of dirt. I tried ordering it on Amazon, but that seems insane. It’s going to take at least 8 huge bags of Miracle Gro. Oh who am I kidding, Amazon it is! Continue reading

Curbside Garden Diary: Week 2 – I till it like it is.

OMG, let me tell you about the pleasures and terrors of doing normal things as a resident of New York City. I’m talking about things that are effortless and mundane elsewhere. Things like buying dirt, transporting lumber, watering plants. These things are hard and expensive when you don’t have a car or a Wal-Mart. For example, I don’t yet have a watering can, so I’m filling up a soup/stock pot in my kitchen sink and carrying that 4 flights up and down the stairs. I look like a homeless person. Luckily, I have tons of extra fertilizer from many a failed Aerogarden, uh, gardens. How much fertilizer each packet contains, how much I should dilute into the water, and how frequently I should repeat this…really is anybody’s guess. Fuck if I know that.

But let me back up a bit.

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Curbside Garden Diary: Week 1

Well it’s been quite a while since Eats Meats West last checked in on the Curbside Garden (TM). Spring has sprung, so it’s time to revisit. The goal is of course to reclaim what little earth I can, and I’ll fill it with as much nutrient-dense produce as possible. Week 1 has been a construction and planning week. As previously discussed, I officially adopted the London Plane Tree outside of my apartment. I discovered I could install a small “tree well garden,” one thing led to another, and well, you’re looking at Brooklyn’s newest urban garden.

Gertrude be thy name. Continue reading

Lucali

It’s been three long years since Eats Meats West was able to dine at Lucali. There have been too many failed attempts to recall, really. But we were dedicated. Finally! Finally, we were able to get a spot last week, and with two guests in tow no less. Within a few days we would end up going again.

Along the way there were several notable surprises, not the least of which was a run-in with Beyonce. Sort of.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First let’s talk about the pizza. Just kidding, let’s talk about the farce that is the waiting/reservation/cache’ system at Lucali.

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Food Porn: Bocca Lupo

Oh yah, get all up in that tarragon chicken salad tramezzini! Don’t go light on those pickled cauliflowers, girl. Lather up aside that sumptuous bread pudding with Chantilly-macerated fresh berries and mascarpone. Then rinse with a crisp frisee salad topped with a poached egg and smothered with decadent lardon vinaigrette. Mmm, yah.

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Fried Chicken

A few years ago during a Christmas vacation I volunteered to do most of the cooking. I enjoy it. The guests enjoy it. It’s win-win. Overconfident in the previous night’s well-received steaks, I decided to go out on a limb and make fries to accompany hamburgers. I had never made fries before. I had never deep-fried anything. If anyone reading has attempted them, then you’ll know how foolish it was of me to not only go solo on a new technique but go off recipe as well. Imagine a shallow pan, several cups of olive oil, and a gas burner. Now imagine me dumping a giant portion of raw matchstick-cut potatoes into that. Keep in mind I have no idea what the temperature currently is or even should be. The oil immediately bubbled over and rushed towards the flames. I later learned olive oil is unlikely to catch fire in this scenario, but at the time it was very scary and more than a little embarrassing.

From that point on, I made it my quest to quietly perfect the art of frying. There have been some missteps along the way, but I’m confident now. To this day I’m afraid to try fries again, but I do have a foolproof fried chicken recipe to share. Continue reading

Food Porn: Mary’s Fish Camp

Turned away by a long wait at the suddenly ultra-hip RedFarm, J and I trotted around the West Village looking for an appropriate replacement. Mary’s Fish Camp isn’t new to us, though we’ve been only the one time, and it’s certainly been a while in any case. Despite the absence of Tyrion Lannister, the place was nonetheless packed with a lively crowd. I ordered two raw oysters (really gotta start writing their names down), crawfish beignets, and the fish tacos. J had the fried clam and oyster appetizer as well as, what else, the lobster roll. Our only real complaints are that 1) fries of this miniscule girth continue to have no place at the table (really, there is just no flavor, and they’re so small they lose heat immediately), and 2) there’s perhaps an over reliance on dips and sauces (tartar, chipotle mayo, chili salsa). Still, it’s a great dinner spot. Check out the rest of the photos after the break.

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Great Steak

I was going to title this recipe simply “steak au poivre,” because that’s really what it is, but I wanted a slant rhyme. There, I’ve said it. I am not proud of myself.

Slant rhymes aside, a great steak is an excellent recipe to memorize, because invariably the need for one will arise. In my case, that’s whenever I’m alone in the house and can thus fill it with the smoky meaty smell of a giant unapologetic steak, without worrying about the dietary needs of others. In fact this is quite an easy recipe to follow, but I’ve gone perhaps a bit overboard in explaining. I wanted there to be a reason for each step, so that if you were tempted to skip or alter anything, you’d at least know why it was there in the first place.

Oh, and I’ll give you one cheat.

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Kitchen Disasters

It’s amazing what I go through for good pizza.

So I made a pizza last night, using a grocery gift card from a thankful houseguest. I was off work early and was looking forward to lots of elaborate chopping and dish-cleaning. Call me a cooking masochist. The final product was delish but a little too crispy. I remember thinking, “OK do the exact same thing next time but decrease by 5 minutes.”

It was the first time I had used the new pizza stone correctly. The last time it took like 35 minutes because I didn’t preheat the stone; I was pussyfooting around the hard part: moving a raw pizza skillfully onto a hot stone. This time it was only 15 minutes, which is an amazing decrease! Well, I cheated a little. Instead of making the pizza and sliding it onto the stone, I took the hot stone out and quickly made the pizza on top of the stove. I don’t think it lost too much heat in the 3 minutes or whatever it took.

But let me back up a bit.

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Food Porn: Pearl Oyster Bar

At long last, a myriad of other, seemingly inferior lobster rolls have finally brought us to this place.

So plump and delicious. Such absurdly large pieces of lobster tail. Oh, and those fries. Do what we did right away and toss those greens aside.

Oh, and a bonus shot of the delicious Fourme D’ambert salad is after the break.

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Pacificana

Aww, Sunset Park. You’re so fucking far away, I keep referring to you inaccurately as Bay Ridge too. I saw exactly one gay dude (with his mom no less) while I was there. But I can’t stay mad at you. No, I definitely can’t, because your dim sum is way too amazing! We’d been meaning to try the dim sum down south (south of the good part of Brooklyn, I mean) for quite some time.

When another couple of foodies were in town, we decided to give it a try. Much like Ocean Jewels in Flushing, Queens, it’s an odd feeling to spend an hour on the subway on a Sunday afternoon heading away from Manhattan, only to emerge in a fantastically be-China Town’d setting, seemingly out of no where. But of course we weren’t no where; we were in one of the many Chinese enclaves peppering the city.

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Seersucker

Seersucker is certainly not alone in its desire to abide by the farm-to-table ethos, but we’ve seldom seen a restaurant be so utterly earnest about it all. We arrived without reservations (though to be fair to us, really early for a Saturday night) and were very kindly told we could sit if we were OK with leaving in an hour. It’s been my experience that it is never a bad thing to agree to such a stipulation; it’s up to them, afterall, to provide you swift service, so if they have a self-imposed deadline it will hardly be your fault when your dining goes over the allotted window of time. Plus, are they really going to kick you out after exactly an hour (or how ever long you’re quoted)? Surely not.

The greeter — who, again, and I don’t mean to belabor this too much, was so hopelessly hipster that I’m sure she has a sitcom airing on the CW Friday nights — cheerfully tapped our names into her tablet, which I quietly observed was the ill-conceived Dell Inspiron Duo. Even if the food were  perhaps beyond our understanding, at least I could judge this place’s questionable choice in electronics.

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Food Porn: Shrimp Salad Roll

It’s from the Red Hook Lobster Pound, the only qualifiedly appetizing food from Atlantic Antic, actually very delicious despite the seemingly blunt distribution of toppings, and at $9 perhaps a luxury but worth it.

Food Torture Porn

Occasionally…OK, very often…Eats Meats West will accumulate miscellaneous sets of excessively close-up, unhelpful, or otherwise just plain bizarre photographs from various cooking adventures. Generally, the goal was to inform the reader, but somewhere along the way we lost our focus…and well, they come off as more than just a little horrifying. So we present to you here, those disastrous images that have fallen through the cracks.

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Salmon, Braised Cabbage, Fingerling Potatoes

It’s been a while since Eats Meats West last posted a recipe. Cooking is hard. Just kidding. Really, it’s been tough to find a new angle. No one wants to read yet another article about roasted chicken? Wait, that wasn’t a question…don’t answer that! So here we are, preparing uncharacteristic yet still altogether familiar ingredients: salmon, cabbage, potatoes — a sort of bridge meal through this lingering muggy summer. Ostensibly, the goal was to prepare 1) new, 2) simple, and 3) healthy (/healthier) meals for J, who either defaults to pasta of his own divination or instead requests yet another meat and potatoes option from me. This meal has potatoes? Oh right. But they’re simple potatoes. So to put it simply: chopping will be coarse, there will be no marinades, and herbs will be kept to a minimum.

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Austin Food Porn

Eats Meats West recently travelled to Austin to do — what else — eat and then think of things that aren’t eating to supplement more eating. Eat! Since basically everything we tasted was amazing, it seems rather pointless to post formal write-ups of the restaurants. Instead, we present a few notes on each followed by a gallery of images. Oh god, now we want this stuff all over again!

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Well hello there, Thyme.

We used to have a giant plum tomato plant in our kitchen window, the only truly reliable space with enough sun in the whole apartment. Despite my efforts, the plant only ever produced two single tomatoes. In fact it was actually two separate plants, and between the two we received only two measly (and not that tasty, I would like to add) little plums! Nevertheless, it was an impressively large plant, and keeping those two red dots healthy became a priority for the two months or so over the summer when guests came over every week. Finally, as the summer came to a close yesterday, it came time to chop down the ill-producing plant.

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Bocca Lupo x2

As we’ve said before, Bocca Lupo is not necessarily your typical neighborhood standby, but it’s nonetheless a dark horse candidate in the nightly where-do-you-want-to-eat competition. You never really consider it, but every time you go it’s perfectly fine; the service is fairly prompt and friendly, the prices are reasonable, the menu is considerable (although to be fair, the dishes are almost all pretty small, with the exception of the nightly pasta and pizza specials), and of course the food is very good, if not excellent.

So it was on two such occasions — where no other restaurants made sense, yet we couldn’t quite count out Bocca Lupo — that Eats Meats West had the opportunity to dine in the mouth of the wolf once again.

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Curbside Garden Diary: Week 0.5

Success!  Landlord agreed to the conversion of the “tree well” into a garden.  I was also offered use of the basement’s facilities, such as…you know, um, electricity and dampness.  Those will come in handy.

Anyway, so in anticipation of the forthcoming acceptance of my proposal, I preemptively and adopted the tree.  Yah, as in like, legally adopted it.  For reals.  I imagine this is probably about how hard it would be to adopt a human child, and since I’m never going to do that, this is close enough!

Turns out she’s a London Planetree.  Wait, what?  She ain’t no plain nothing!  She’s a tall, triumphant, regal beaut.

I would like to give her a name, and obviously it’ll need to be very British.  Any ideas?  Beatrice…Sophie…Hermione?

To be honest, though, I kind of couldn’t care less about the tree.  I want only the dirt that surrounds it.  I’m going to “care for” Ms. Planetree only in the sense that if it doesn’t get in my way, I won’t get in its way.

It rained this past weekend, so there was no opportunity to construct a fence around the dirt.  It’ll be wood and resemble this (source).

Hibino

Not much new to report on Hibino other than that they [SPOLER ALERT] continue to make great food.  We arrived fairly late for lunch, so the only bento box available was the shrimp dumpling.  Sadly they were out of the salmon collar.  Curiously, the tempura vegetable was baby corn.  I always associate baby corn with those pickled yellow phalluses that pop up every once in a while in salad bars.  Nope, these were in fact fresh baby corn…which is a thing you can buy?  Sure enough, one of the chefs was busy shucking away, as you can see in one of these pictures!

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The Bedford

FYI: The Bedford in Williamsburg currently has a 4-6pm happy hour consisting of $1 oysters, $1.50 grilled oysters, 2-for-1 cocktails, and $3 Stellas.  Not bad.  There was some grit in one of my oysters, the cocktail sauce tasted basically like ketchup with horseradish, and the pickled onions were unpleasantly crunchy…but I’m nitpicking because damn, girl, those oysters are cheaps!

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Seared Scallops and Shrimp, with Shiitake Black Rice and Fresh Zucchini

With a house guest in town watching the calories, Eats Meats West turned to its favorite marine invertebrates: scallops and shrimp.

Vowing to keep the dishes as simple as possible, I gave the seafood only the most basic of seasoning (salt, pepper, chopped mixed French herbs).  Sautéed shrimp are of course no big deal, and neither really are scallops.

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Prime Meats

It’s been a while since the last time Eats Meats West visited Prime Meats, and this was our first lunch outing at the establishment. If you weren’t already aware that Carroll Gardens has long since become an enclave of work-from-home, post-hipster food snobs…well fuck a duck because boy you are in luck, as Prime Meats is here to inform you!

This is not to say that there’s anything overtly unpleasant or alienating about PM. It’s just that, good lord, there were at least 5 apparently not working people who came in and ordered, of all things, an iced coffee!  That’s it, just a coffee!  Confused for much of our meal, we later noticed a [of course hand-painted] sign prominently announcing that Prime Meats now had authentic cold-brewed coffee.  Gee whiz, the novelty!  I point this example out mostly to highlight how absurd the slow/local/seasonal food movement has taken it.  Yes, obviously millions of people order Starbucks everyday.  And yes, I realize especially in a metropolis such as New York, people make all kinds of excuses for not making their own coffee, among other thing.  But to buy it from an expensive [for the area], upscale but pretending-not-to-be upscale ostensibly German restaurant!  When there are numerous equally pretentious coffee shops around?  Jeez Louise, people, have some humility!

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Curbside Garden Diary: Week 0

So I’m thinking of asking the landlord if he’d mind if I added a garden around our one and only curbside tree.  Although…maybe I don’t even need to ask permission, because isn’t that city property?  And since it’s city property, clearly I will not be asking permission.  Just look at all of these other sidewalk gardens (in the slideshow after the break) of different scope, all on the same street.  Some of these were in front of private homes, while others in front of apartment buildings.  Obviously August isn’t the best time of the year to start a garden, so I’m thinking:

  1. Cheap flowers that will instantly add color, and I won’t care when they die.
  2. A couple perennials that will survive the winter.  Asparagus?
  3. Then eventually bulbs.  When is it appropriate to plant bulbs?

Any ideas?  I’d say it’s at least 3′ x 4′, with a good chunk taken up by the tree.  There’s some sort of metal thin on the left, which I’m probably going to ignore.  [UPDATE: The metal thing says “water,” but it is totally rusted over and, thus, not my concern.]  Ideally this garden will begin to produce useful herbs and vegetables next year after another planting, so for now I’d just be getting things started.  The dirt looks sort of terrible around the tree, and there is apparently some cement, so I’ll be adding some kind of confining fence and lots of soil.  Oh and I guess clean up the trash.  Any tips?

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Fayetteville: Spreading Infection, One Olive Garden at a Time

Oh, well what’s this lovely piece of news about good ol’ Fayettenam?  Hundreds of people were probably infected with Hepatitis A as a result of one Olive Garden employee recently being diagnosed, that’s what!

I just love how Fayetteville only ever seems to creep into the public consciousness when something horribly awful happens…you know, like that time “Spanky the Clown” was arrested for something or another.  Oh it was child pornography?  God lord, WTF, Fayetteville!  Get your shit together.

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Brooklyn Brewery

The Brooklyn Brewery offers free tours on Saturdays and Sundays, where obviously the real draw is fresh drafts and a relaxed atmosphere.  On Wednesdays and Thursdays, however, they offer an $8 “small batch tour” that occurs only at 5pm, is by reservation only, and includes four pours.  We foolishly arrived ten minutes early, and finding no semblance of an entrance or welcoming party, promptly called the main number.  “Doors open promptly at 5pm,” barked the person on the other end.  Hrmm…OK.  Did you forget you’re a brewery?

Anyway, after a short intro on the sidewalk, which is by now covered in a light drizzle, we’re led inside.  Immediately I notice a cat who shows little interest in any of the 27 visitors storming his turf.  “That’s Monster,” our tour guide explains.  The cat promptly captures two birds from the street and drags them inside the brewery, displaying to the horrified crowd just how bad-ass (bad-cass?) he is.  The various barkeeps and barmaids wander around aimlessly drinking beer as if it were water, and I think to myself, “yes, that is what I would do, if I worked at a brewery.”

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Two 8 Two (Updated)

Terrible naming aside, Two 8 Two is a new and somewhat unassuming burger bar with a small menu, but a lot to offer.  It fills the niche of better than 5 Guys but not as expensive as Henry Public (and the sort).

We had walked by one Sunday, many months ago, and noticed the well designed interior and interestingly short menu (mostly burgers), but it wasn’t open until 5pm, oddly.  Now it’s open every day for lunch/brunch. We went for an early Summer Saturday dinner — having literally looked at menu after menu of other restaurants seeking a burger but feeling jaded by the $14+ options available — and ended up staying past dark.

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UPDATE: Went back for a second time one week later, and the service was noticeably better for whatever reason.  This time I had a Billy Burger and once again the onion rings = perfection.  The Brooklyn outpost of Shake Shack may be looming, but I’m not necessarily going to jump ship.

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Scalloped Tomatoes

No matter how many times I write or say the words “scalloped tomatoes” I want to say “scalloped potatoes” because despite seeing this recipe on TV [and rare of rare things, followed it in real life] I still don’t think it’s real.  Pages and pages of Epicurious searches didn’t turn up a recipe, and the first search on Google indeed brings up the Barefoot Contessa recipe.  Loads of images on Google Image Search only corroborate the theory that Ina Garten is the only major contributor to the life of this dish.

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Roasted Chicken with Miso

I wanted to do a roasted chicken, but as that’s on the boring side of weekend culinary activities I also wanted to spice things up a bit (ugh, I just vomited in my mouth…Why do I suddenly sound like someone from the Food Network?)

Somehow I settled on the idea of a roasted chicken with miso, which is not a “miso-roasted chicken” because the point was to incorporate both the usual flavors of a roasted chicken with those you’d expect from a miso dish.  To me “miso-roasted” would be something that involves basically making a miso marinade and dunking the -insert meat here- in it.

Eight minutes into this thought process I decided I had invented the idea.  A quick recipe search revealed otherwise.  It turns out a ton of other amateur chefs have incorporated miso and chicken, but they all seem to settle on chicken pieces.  It’s as if their aim was to take Asian chicken wings and extrapolate them upwards, rather than start with a typical roasted chicken and hybridize.  I couldn’t find a recipe involving a whole chicken.

You’re welcome, folks.

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Brasserie 8 1/2

As we wound down our cavalcade of awful dining experiences 2011 Restaurant Week, J, two friends, and I met up at Brasserie 8 1/2.  You know, from that Sex and the City episode where Stanford first meets Anthony (SPOILER: They offensively “marry” in the second feature film), Samantha poses naked for some reason, and Charlotte has a bummed-out vagina.  What I most remember about it, though, is the whole Carrie-as-famous person/model plot line.  The designer, played by Alan Cumming, asks her to walk in his runway show along with other “celebrities,” and in the end she’s forced to wear glitzy panties and falls satisfyingly flat on her face.

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Mr. Chow

Um, wow. Where to begin with this one? Well just to get some of the nice things out of the way (because girl, this one’s not going to be real positive I can tell you that right now!):

The layout and decor of Mr. Chow – TriBeca were pleasant, and the various servers and attendants were friendly and helpful.  I never found myself wanting a drink to be refilled, nor did our server ever make it seem like we were anything other than normal [non-restaurant week] patrons.

Other than those minor points, wow this place is dukes.

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Mermaid Oyster Bar

What’s the greatest danger of eating at a seafood bar?  Oh you thought I was going to say bacterial infection?  Ah ha ha ha ha, as if I’d be stopped by that (insert ironic link to obituary)!  No, the greatest danger is that one person might order the lobster roll, inciting jealousy and bitterness from those who foolishly ordered something else.

Such was the case this evening, when out of the four diners I was somehow the only one to do the prudent thing and stick with the lobster roll at Mermaid Oyster Bar.

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Aburiya Kinnosuke

It seems like every time we visit Aburiya Kinnosuke, something has changed; once we were told they didn’t do [and never had] sushi, another that they didn’t know what almond jelly was [even though it was our favorite dessert].  Most likely, this has been a trouble with translation, but after seven previous visits it’s become apparent that no matter how used to the experience we become, we’re never quite on top of things.

And so it was no different, on this very special birthday edition, that we were confronted with another change.  The various menus had since been consolidated into one large binder, including the drinks.  While this might seem like a mundane point, you have to realize that there are literally upwards of 100 dishes, taking into account that many have secondary options (like rice balls with sour plum vs. rice balls with salmon).  Though the text is now hand-drawn and thus hard to read, they’ve at least segmented the myriad dishes into major categories like “fish,” “meat,” and “rice.”  Are they mainstreaming?  The menu’s easier to read but still far from what I’d call simple.  With a large group, usually one would order 2-3 dishes per person and share as they’re brought out in the order in which they were cooked (or sliced I suppose, for sashimi).

With our shochu sours (shochu + soda water + choice of citrus juice, freshly squeezed table-side) arriving, we were ready to order.  I was hoping to partake in the prix fixe eight-course menu, which I’ve done twice before, but it’s inexplicably not on the menu anymore despite still being on the website.  Instead, we went omakase. At $70 (which is again, not reflected on their website…get on it folks!), and not exactly what I had wanted, I was expecting a lot.  Needless to say we were not disappointed.

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