Puerto Rican sweet bread cradles a tasty amalgam of hamburger and American cheese.
I’ve been eager to try a chopped cheese ever since the classic New York City bodega sandwich rose to controversial fame a couple of years ago on a wave of culinary Columbussing. I was going to hit a spot near Queensbridge and then I thought about White Gold Butchers for April Bloomfield’s $11 artisanal version and then I remembered my pal Giuseppe González was serving one at his Lower East Side watering hole, Suffolk Arms.
Actually that’s not what happened at all. I was in the neighborhood and I wanted to try the food at Giuseppe’s bar. I almost ordered the $13 Thanksgiving burger, which combines turkey, stuffing, and cranberry and then I saw “Joey’s Classic Chopped Cheese.” At $5 it’s the cheapest item on the menu, and that’s intentional the veteran barman says. “I went to two bodegas around my way one charges $5.50 and one charges $6, so I’m cheaper than both.” (more…)
As a kid I grew up sipping egg nog at Christmastime, the stuff from the container, not the homemade kind. With a dusting of nutmeg, the rich brew was kind of tasty, even better with a splash of rum. To tell the truth, I always thought that my brother, John, liked it better than I did. Sometimes I wish I grew up Puerto Rican, then I’d know how to dance, and, instead of store bought egg nog, I’d have had coquito. For those who haven’t heard of it, think of this festive libation as the love child of the piña colada and egg nog, that is if the pineapple gene was recessive.
Third generation barman Giuseppe González—the mastermind behind the Lower East Side’s Suffolk Arms—has spent more time behind the stick than I have at the bar and he was kind enough to share his thoughts on his home country’s national holiday drink. With the tropical weather we’ve been having coquito seems more appropriate than eggnog anyhow. Best of all you can make several bottles and lay in a supply for the upcoming New Year’s Eve festivities. Take it away Giuseppe!
Coquito. It’s basically three ingredients: Puerto Rican rum, evaporated milk and cream of coconut. Spice it how you want (cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, etc). Simple. Work your way up and incorporate what you want. All variations should have something that resembles those three. (more…)