07/11/14 9:49am
ODDFELLOWS

Cornbread with salted caramel syrup and burnt sugar.

Last Saturday was sweltering. It was even hotter if you were waiting on line to view Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby,” at the soon to be demolished Domino Sugar Factory. As we left the domain of the massive sugar sphinx-mammy I tasted  a few grains of what I presumed to be some ancient turbinado sugar that was laying on a girder. Back outside in the heat I pondered whether that was a good idea, and my crew and I decided to chill out with something sweet and cool at the nearby OddFellows Ice Cream Co. (more…)

05/01/13 10:02am
Noah cracks up the Thai chicken skin.

Noah cracks up the Thai chicken skin.

I have the distinct honor of having performed a cross-borough Thai chicken crackling mitzvah. It all started when I heard that my buddy Noah Arenstein was having problems sourcing gribbenes for Scharf & Zoyer, his new sandwich stand at Smorgasburg. So last Friday night I breezed by the throng waiting for tables outside Thai juggernaut Sripraphai and purchased four boxes of nan kai, super-crunchy fried chicken skin seasoned with salt and garlic.

An experimental kugel double down with cabbage-carrot slaw.

An experimental kugel double down with cabbage-carrot slaw.

Noah had me play guinea pig with his newest creation, a kugel double down with carrot and cabbage slaw topped with gribbenes. The kugel sandwich is his invention and a brilliant one at that. This version of it needs some tweaking, though the Thai gribbenes played their crunchy, salty role perfectly. “I think you’ll find the original more balanced,” Noah said. (more…)

04/30/13 12:00pm
Yuji Ramen was still pretty sedate before the arrival of the hungry,hungry hipsters.

Yuji was still pretty sedate before the arrival of the hungry, hungry hipsters.

If there’s anything I hate more than foodies it’s hipsters. So the often overcrowded, overpriced  hipster/foodie paradise that is Smorgasburg has never been too high on my list. When it comes to crowds and food I’ll take a Southeast Asian Lunar New Year buffet over the scrum that befalls East River Park every Saturday. This Saturday was my second time at Smorgasburg. The first was last summer to eat foie gras poutine  made by Hugue Dufour. This time around I was on a mission to supply some chicken cracklin’ to a pal with a new booth at the market. With my mission accomplished and the market not yet too crowded I decided to treat myself to a bowl of noodles from Yuji Ramen.

Yuji’s uni ramen is briny and decadent.

Yuji’s uni ramen is briny and decadent.

For a moment I considered the bacon, egg, and cheese noodles ($10), but I was kind of full after sampling my pal’s wares. So I opted for the somewhat lighter sounding uni miso ($10). The ramen dude congratulated me on my choice pointing out that the Maine uni he uses would soon be going out of season. The creamy sea urchin melted atop the warm, chewy noodles coating them with a rich, briny sauce. It was far richer than I thought it would be, though the blood orange zest and shiso managed to cut the richness somewhat. It could have used just a bit of the citrusy Japanese hot paste yuzu kocho.

For dessert I had a half dozen oysters ($16) from Brooklyn Oyster Party. The super briny bivalves served as an effective palate cleanser, and reawakened my appetite. Since I was already at Smorgasburg I thought I might as well get my feed on. Check back tomorrow for a Smorgasburg Sandwich Wednesday, plus the details of my secret chicken crackling mission.

Smorgasburg, East River State Park, at Norh 7th St., Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

03/12/13 12:13pm

Barbecued IPads are not on the menu at Daniel Delaney’s BrisketTown.

I’ve made something of a career of hating on, or at least avoiding, dining in Brooklyn. Home town pride aside, there are many places worth eating at in the Borough of Kings. In no particular order some of them are: Do or Dine, Difaras, Joe’s of Avenue U, and BrisketTown. The last is Daniel Delaney’s Williamsburg barbecue emporium specializing in the smoky arts of Texas, notably some amazingly good brisket. Daniel and I go back a long way, I was a guest on his VendrTV and have helped out at his rooftop barbecues. He took a break from smoking some of the city’s best brisket to answer Seven Questions.

How did a good old boy from New Milford, N.J., get into barbecue?
I had been making videos about food for some number of years, which caused me to travel the country quite a bit. My crew and I made it a point to eat the local cuisine in whatever city we’d land in. When in the South, we ate barbecue. It was only when eating brisket at Louie Mueller’s in Taylor, Texas, that I really fell in love with it. That was the first great barbecue I had. All the rest had clearly been just OK. And it was that taste that set me off on trying to make my own.

What was the capacity of the first smoker you ever had?
The first smoker I bought could barely cook a pork shoulder. You could smoke it for an hour and then get so frustrated that you’d have to go finish it in the oven. It was a total piece of shit. (more…)