Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Brownstone Brooklyn Final 12 Hours

One course of many. (This was from a Sausage Party we had last month. We don't always label our food.)

The Amateur Gourmet posted a fun scenario earlier this week -- it's your last 12 hours in [insert your city/town/neighborhood here]. What must you eat during these final hours if you could never, ever return?

I'll play. I'm going to narrow the focus from all of New York City to my beloved Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens/Brooklyn Heights area -- Brownstone Brooklyn, if you will. If it were my last 12 hours here I wouldn't want to stray far from home; I'm a homebody, even in fantasy scenarios. And, while The Amateur Gourmet stuck to three proper meals, I think I would have more of a mini-meal tour. Also, he was remarkably restrained in his intake. I can pack it away even when the prospect of exile isn't an issue, so you better believe I'm not going to be dainty or "save room." There is always room. 'Tis a gift.

I would start the day with an unconventional breakfast of house-made warm pita, muhammara, and babaghanouj from Fatoosh. We always go months forgetting Fatoosh exists and then can't go a week without craving the muhammara, a tangy red pepper dip. They also (usually) make the best baba in the neighborhood.

Next, a chocolate cloud cookie for post-breakfast dessert from Tazza by way of Baked bakery in Red Hook. This cookie. Oh my, this cookie. It's actually the perfect hybrid of a brownie and a cookie. The staff at Tazza, especially the nice man who reminds us of Henry Gale from Lost, is probably used to the slightly obscene moans of pleasure we emit whenever we visit and savor one.

Then, to kill some time, I'll probably take a break and run my favorite loop -- down to 4th Place, up through Brooklyn Heights to the end of the Promenade, back down to 4th Place, home. Shower, water, time for more food!

Off down Court Street to one of the Italian bakeries that sell lard bread, which I talked about back during Thanksgiving. To review -- a slab of super-crusty bread, saturated with lard and studded with chunks of sausage. I'll buy a loaf and pick at it throughout the rest of the day.

Oh, Lily! Hellooooo, darling store. I love you, yes I do! I'll stop eating for a visit to buy one of, oh, EVERYTHING. That means you, sweater dress in the window. You're mine.

Then, off to Ki Sushi. Stick your nose in the air and giggle to your friends that I'm a clueless hick, but I have never had better sushi than at Ki, including a visit to Blue Ribbon. The tuna and salmon nigiri and sashimi are buttery perfection, the wasabi is worlds better than any neon green or even normal green paste all the other local places offer, and the ginger is a subtle treat all its own. A Sushi Deluxe platter, please.

Cocktail time is next. I'll go to Cubana Cafe for a mojito. I haven't sought out many of my beloved mojitos in my neighborhood, but they make a respectable one and would probably also put out a little plate of complimentary fried plantain chips and salsa. Score!

Finally, a small plate to finish off the day -- Potato Gnocchi, Oyster Mushrooms, Proscuitto And Mache from Chestnut. Pillowy bundles of dough and potato, crunchy proscuitto, earthy mushrooms...I daydream about this dish. The (formerly $25) $30 prix fixe dinner on Tuesday/Wednesday nights is one of the best deals in any borough -- any appetizer, any entree, any dessert. Tonight, though, the gnocchi will be enough.

A quick walk home, admiring my new Lily duds in the store windows as I pass. To bed, and then off to a new land where things will never be as lovely as they are here in Cobble Hill.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ko Ko. Ko Ko Ko.

Our meal this evening at Momofuku Ko, before I forget it.

Course 1:
Homemade pork rind
Black pepper biscuit (oh my, so buttery--lardy?--and good)
A fried nugget of black rice and pork belly

Course 2:
Sliced raw fluke over a pool of buttermilk and white soy, dusted with poppy seeds and chives.

Course 3:
Bacon dashi with sliced mushroom, zebra beans, and tiny black seed-things (we don't remember what these were. They tasted slightly mustardy. And like horseradish?)

Course 4:
Smoked, poached egg with caviar, sous-[something?? it sounded like he said bide. it wasn't vide] onions with sweet potato vinegar (who knew onions could be this good? better than caramelized, really), mini potato chips, and parsley

Course 5:
Sweet corn ravoli with charred corn, chorizo, lime zest, cojito cheese, and pickled red onions. This might have been our #1 savory course of the night, but honestly, that's like choosing a favorite panda child.

Course 6:
Seared scallop on a puree of pepperocini (!!) with bok choy, burnt onion marmalade. The pureed pepperocini was surprising and divine, especially with the sweet scallop and onion marmalade.

Course 7:
A huge mound of shaved foie gras over lychees, cubes of riesling gelee, and pine nut brittle. SO BIZARRE. As bizarre as it sounds. The foie gras was in a huge pile -- light and airy in the beginning but then it melted in your mouth.

Course 8:
Muscovy duck -- three parts, we think the tail, breast, and belly -- with Chinese long beans, mung beans, dried cherries, and water chestnuts

And then, 2 of the best desserts I have ever EVER had:

Course 9:
A small scoop of cantaloupe sorbet over a smear of cashew praline. Good god, it was simple and amazing. Salty and sweet. Jeff doesn't really care for cantaloupe and he loved it, as well.

Course 10:
This might be a contender for my favorite dessert of all time.

Side one of the plate--lightly pickled strawberries with peanut crumble
Side two--yellow cake ice cream (think an ice cream version of boxed batter) with shaves of peanut halvah
Middle--a generous smear of strawberry sauce


We decided against wine parings (you know, to be somewhat reasonable) and instead got a bottle of lovely 2005 Riesling Kabinett. Like the night, it was perfect. No, I don't remember the name. I'm in a food coma.

BTW, there were 8 empty seats. 3 different groups of people were no-shows. WTF? There were three (friendly, fun) chefs for the 4 of us there. We had the best night.