Tag Archives: Brooklyn

Smorgasburg Return Trip

Today, a friend of mine and I went to check out Smorgasburg.  For me, it was a chance to meet some great new vendors.  She’d never been there.  She’s been my food and wine wing person on several excursions, so I knew that she’d let me drag her around the market to check out the wares on display.  The pile of stuff in the top photo is an indication of what a great shopping day I had.

Lush Candy new line of brittles

The reason I love going back to the markets in the city time and again is to discover what delicious new products might be available to sample that I might not have ever seen before.  This trip was also to support a friend and food artisan, Laurie of Lush Candy, whom I’ve profiled on the site.  She’d told me she was working on a new line of products to complement her delicious English Toffee, but I had no idea what fantastic things she’d created.  These are the kinds of sweets in flavor combinations that make you fall in love with candy again.

She had great flavors for us to try out like the Cowboy Brittle (bacon, bourbon, molasses) and a Vanilla Hazelnut Brittle with Cocoa Nibs.  I ended up getting a bag of the Spectaculoos, with bits of some of my favorite Belgian cookies nestled within a buttery, rich crunchiness.  Her Indonesian Cashew Brittle has layers of citrus, spice, and nutty, meaty cashew nuts all wrapped up in that toffee shell.  I feel I have to take a little credit for this last creation, as I introduced Laurie to Cyrilla of Nuts+Nuts.  All of my foodie matchmaking should end up with such delicious results!

Liz the cotton candy pro

The market also gave me a chance to catch up with Jen and Liz of Liddabit Sweets.  I’d run into Jen earlier in the week at a cookbook launch party, but I haven’t seen Liz in a while.  The summer season has given her a chance to develop her awesome cotton candy making skills.  The maple candy floss (as my British friends would say) is light and delicate and not too sugary.  It’s a huge step up from the usual fun fair treat.

Liddabit’s caramels

Of course, I couldn’t walk away from their table without picking up a little something to snack on during the course of the week.  Usually, I’m a sucker for their bourbon-bacon-caramel-coffee popcorn combo labeled Breakfast of Heros, but this time I went for their caramels instead.  The Orange-Ricotta ones are not always available, so I picked those to take home with me.  They have a lovely citrus personality that perfumes each bite and marries perfectly with the creaminess of the candy itself.  The ricotta just creates an extra layer of richness to the mix.  I’ve already eaten two of them, so I’m not sure they’ll last longer than the next few days.

Anarchy in a Jar jams

If you open up my fridge, you’ll find at least a few jars of Anarchy in A Jar‘s amazing fruit spreads.  Don’t let the small size of the jars fool you, these have big, bold, fruit flavors that will perk up your breakfast toast and have it make the coffee for you.  I really like all of their jams, so it was hard to stay on budget for this week and to pick just two of them.  The Grapefruit & Smoked Salt marmalade had a really interesting deep-founded citrus profile with tart, salt, and sweet.  The Hot Fireman’s Pear Jam is one I’ve been thinking needs to hang out with the others I have at home some day.

I decided to pick up another jar of the Blackberry & Lavender, with lovely ripe berries delicately perfumed with herbs, along with 3’s Company Triple Berry, which was one of my first favorite jams I tried of theirs.  They get to join the almost-done jar of Strawberry Balsamic on the top shelf of the fridge.  It is wonderful when combined with fresh ricotta cheese and grilled peaches, not to tempt anyone or anything.

A bicycle masa grinder

At the table for Hot Bread Kitchen, I got to say hi to Robin, their new business developer, whom I hadn’t seen at a market in a while.  She directed us to the demo they were doing of a bicycle-powered masa grinder.  The results went into some hand-made tortillas which we were able to sample.  They were filled with robust, fresh corn flavor had a slight crisp at the edge and were soft on the inside.  They sell these at the markets and are definitely on my to-buy list for the future.  I picked up one of their gorgeous pain de campagne loaves instead to go with all the jam that I bought.


Hand-made tortillas with the masa

As a side note, Robin asked me to let everyone know that they are currently taking applications for their incubator program for folks looking to start their own food businesses.  I’ve been up to their space on East 114th Street, which was completely redone recently in conjunction with the re-opening of La Marqueta.  The next deadline to apply is August 31st.  They do wonderful work with immigrant women teaching them life and business skills through baking bread and are one of my hometown heros.  Please spread the word to anyone who is looking to launch his/her own enterprise!

Donut holes from Dough

At the Food. curated screening a couple of weeks back, I’d finally had a chance to sample Dough‘s wonderful products.  The donuts always look so enticing when I see them at the market, but I can’t chow down on a whole one of them and still have room for anything else.  So, I was thrilled to see that they are also selling donut holes.  They were the ideal sweet, soft, pillowy bite to have to keep us going during our visit.

Simmer sauces from Calcutta Kitchens

The photo above has two of the sauces from Calcutta Kitchens, who was a newcomer to the market this week.  We really enjoyed the Coriander & Coconut simmer sauce with its herbal flavor.  It would make a great start to building an evening meal, although I would definitely want to add more chopped fresh coriander and a dash of grated ginger to it to give it some more zing.  The Makhani simmer sauce was not as dynamic as I would have liked, but I could see it being a good base from which to construct one’s own canvas.

Onion Bhajia with Tamarind Chutney

For snacking, we found that the Onion Bhajia with tamarind chutney from Dadar Station was a crunchy, not-greasy, light savory bite that was a great appetizer before seeking out lunch.  These folks are really interesting.  They have all spent time in India and decided that they needed to bring the great street food options that they had there back to New York to share with all of us.  I could definitely go back to try out their Chana Chaat and Vada Pao on my next market trip.

Crown Maple Syrups

I think the most incredible item that I tried in the market today had to be Crown Maple Syrup.  They create single harvest maple syrups, segregating different batches of tapping during the maple syrup season.  With this, they bottle their various “vintages.”  We sipped their organic light amber, medium amber, and dark amber batches.  If you are wondering why I’m talking about this as though it was wine, it’s because that’s the first thing that we thought of when we tasted the samples.  The producers approach their product in this way, too, which has made this syrup one found in the kitchens of some of the highest end restaurants in the city.  I indulged completely and bought a bottle of the medium amber to try out at home.

Q Ginger Ale and Tonic

Before we headed out of the market, we checked out a table that had caught my eye earlier in the day.  Q Ginger Ale was refreshing, fizzy, and not at all over bearing.  I’ve been making ginger-lime sodas in the afternoons to cool off, and this will be great to mix up for that.  They also have a Tonic which is flavorful and crisp and would be an amazing cocktail base.

In addition to all the goodies that I picked up to bring home with me, we had macaroons from Danny Macaroons (my friend might be a new fan of the Salted Caramel), a Doctor bar from Brewla Bars, a cemita sandwich, and a peach-basil drink from The Stand.  We were lucky that the weather was in our favor today, as there have been times I’ve been there when it has been meltingly hot.  The crowds seemed to agree as it got really busy just as we were heading out.  I’m hoping that this bodes well for the rest of the season at Smorgasburg and that everyone buys as many things as we did to eat and to take home with them.

Buon appetito!

Dekalb Market in Brooklyn

Have you ever wondered what happens to the old shipping containers once they’ve outlived the uses for which they were built?  Some folks turn them into homes like these.  For Urban Space, the organizers of several of the markets in New York City, it meant launching a design competition using shipping containers as the storefronts for its newest location, the Dekalb Market in Brooklyn.  Yesterday, I dropped by to check it out and to see what was going on over there.

Robicelli’s Storefront

Allison Robicelli and their cupcakes

The main entrance of the market has the containers that contain food merchants.  What better welcome is there than to be greeted by Robicelli’s Cupcakes when you get off of the subway.  That makes the trip from Manhattan with the Q train stopping and starting every few minutes so worth it.  Just a few of their uniquely-flavored, delicious cupcakes, and all of your troubles and the stress of the subway will drift away.

Robicelli’s Cupcake flavors – they’ll be rotating them

Key Lime Cheesecake (graham cracker cake, key lime cheesecake buttercream, graham cracker crumbs and lime zest) and The Elvis (banana cake, peanut butter buttercream and candied bacon) cupcakes

Not all that into cupcakes, how about munching on one of their brownies instead?  I first had a chance to try them at the Northside Market.  These are more the fudgy kind, with flavors that are more grown-up than those you had as a kid.  They also have one of my other favorite things that they do: whoopie pies.  Moist, rich chocolate cake with a schmear of their wonderful buttercream in several different flavors.  I picked up a few to take away with me for later.

Robicelli’s Brownies

Robicelli’s Whoopie Pies

Kitty Lee Thomas Marshmallows

The shop is warm and inviting with a bench to sit on while enjoying your purchases.  They are also selling Kitty Lee Thomas‘ marshmallows in their store in several different flavors.  Now that I had my sugar fix filled, I was ready to take on the rest of the market.  Joe the Art of Coffee is just across the entranceway from the Robicelli’s.  It looked like quite a few folks still needed to get their caffeine fix for the morning, too.

Joe at Dekalb Market

More Joe at Dekalb

Along with Joe, you could have found Cuzin’s Duzin Donuts to start off your morning at the market just right.  Other options for dining included the creations, both breakfast and lunch style from the folks at Cheeky Sandwiches.  It was so hard to resist, but I was meeting up later with a friend, so I had to pass on them this time.

Cuzins Duzin Donuts

Cheeky Sandwiches

What is nice about this market is that there’s a bit of something for everyone.  Nile Valley has an eco-juice and salad bar with some delicious-sounding vegan options on its menu.  I saw several sets of folks on line waiting to try out their offerings.  Next to them was Mazie’s International Soul.  My mouth was watering as I saw the list of their options: pulled pork sandwich, fish tacos, sides of mac-n-cheese.  Next time I visit, I will not have follow-on plans to be elsewhere.

Nile Valley

Nile Valley’s menu

Mazie’s International Soul

The market is home to more than just great food stalls, there are crafts, live music, and cooking demonstrations.  I happened to be there when the Chef Shana of Mazie’s was walking everyone through how to make collard greens without needing to use a ham hock.  One of their tricks is to heat the olive oil until it gets a bit smoky and then to throw in lots of garlic.  I had to get to my next destination so I couldn’t stick around to see all of their tips, but the collard greens at their stand are also on my list of things to try.

Some of the craft stands

Chef Shana of Mazie’s making collard greens

Too cool down, there were also several options, not the least of which was a cart from Brooklyn Brewery.  Another cart had tropical ice pops dipped in chocolate to bring down the temperatures a bit.   I also got to see the guys from Wooly’s Ice for the second time in a week.  They had great toppings to choose from for their shaved ice creations.  Tea by Tiffany also looked like another refreshing choice.

Brooklyn Brewery cart

Trop Pops cart

Wooly’s Ice toppings

Display for Tea by Tiffany

This market already seems to be a hit with the neighborhood after just one week in business.  Unlike some of the other ones that I usually go to, this is designed to be a year-round, seven-day-a-week venture.  The vendors and the organizers have made a huge investment to pull this together as a way of revitalizing what had been a vacant space in the middle of Brooklyn.  I’m curious to see what other merchants will be there as this market grows.

Coming soon!

Buon appetito!

Smorgasburg!

Smorgasburg at Brooklyn FleaSmorgasburg!

It was a long overdue trip, I know, but I’ve either been out of town or just plain busy every Saturday since Smorgasburg, the food fair put together by the folks who also run the Brooklyn Flea, kicked off.  Knowing several vendors who sell at this Williamsburg, Brooklyn waterfront location, I was keen to get out there to support their efforts at this new market venture.  Today, with sunny skies and the free ferry service running between Manhattan and the landing dock right near Smorgasburg, I didn’t have any more excuses not to visit it.

Sir Kensington's KetcupSamples of Sir Kensington’s Ketchup

There’s just so much good food, great folks to chat with, and neat stuff going on, that it’s best just to plunge in and explore it on your own.  I came back home with jam from Anarchy in a Jar, ketchup from Sir Kensington, popcorn from Liddibit Sweets, and organic pecans (which will make an appearance in brownies headed to a bbq tomorrow) from Rio Grande Organics.  That is on top of the food that went into my belly at the market and the samples that I tried.

Sunday Gravy bread boat sandwichSunday Gravy bread boat sandwich

A sweet, cool chocolate-hazelnut ice cream sandwich made with stroopwafels from The Good Batch, ice tea and a delicious, hearty bread boat sandwich from the folks at Sunday Gravy, a red velvet macaroon from Danny Macaroons, along with shrimp rolls from Bite Size Kitchen (a fantastic concept) were my lunch today.  I tried some cool new things, too, and wish I had had more room in my stomach to sample the other goodies that I saw.  It’s so difficult to pick which of all the items I tried that are my favorites.  I could have blown my whole grocery budget this week on all everything I wanted to take home to play with in my kitchen.

Morris Kitchen's Ginger SyrupGinger Syrup by Morris Kitchen

One of those was Morris Kitchen‘s amazing Ginger Syrup that I’ve heard raves about.  Ginger and sugar heated together to make a pure liquid honey-colored creation.  It starts off sweet and a bit floral and then wham! hits you with that spicy ginger-style punch at the end.  Whoo-ee!  That could make some awesome summer cocktails.

Kors d'OeuvresKors d’Oeuvres – so delicious that I couldn’t choose just one to buy

I might have to throw that party myself not just to use the Ginger Syrup but also to make some interesting little nibbles with Kors d’Oeuvres dips.  The Horseradish and Bacon had a great zing and a creamy-smoky feel to it which would go well on thick-cut homemade potato chips, regular or sweet.  World’s Greatest Onion Dip was fantastic, too with sweet caramelized onions, and I could see this being wonderful as a burger topping.  Another dip that I sampled was the Cheddar and Beer combo.  Put some of this on your fries or on your burger or, hey, even both, I won’t tell anyone.  They have a party pack for sale, too, that also comes with the crudites and dippers, so that could be a great way to get the summer festivities started.

Skim kim samplesSkimKim Kimchee and Bloody Kim Jong-il Mix samples

For this next find, I’ll have to come right out and say it: I haven’t jumped on the Kim Chi bandwagon yet.  Yes, I’ve had a kim chi taco and enjoyed it, and, yes, I’ve tried some varieties of kim chi and been o.k. with it, and, yes, I know all the stuff behind how great for you fermented products are, but I’m just not that into it, I’m sorry.  Maybe this has to do with the fact that I don’t really like pickles all that much either.  SkimKim could possibly change my mind about this.  I love her sense of humor about her products, which feature kim chi and Asian ingredients, and how she informs potential customers to use it.  The flavors are great, too, as per my sampling the Kimchee Butter.  The Asian Green Goddess marinade was so hard to resist on this visit.  It will make me come back again to Smorgasburg to track it down as I have several ideas for how to use it.

Tomato Garlic Dipping Oil Cheeky MonkeyThe spicy version of their Tomato Garlic Dipping Oil from Cheeky Monkey

Danny at Danny Macaroons pointed me in the direction of this incredible, spicy Tomato Garlic Dipping Oil by Cheeky Monkey Foods.  This was also one of the items I should have picked up to take home with me as the good words about it were correct.  Need something to pep up some fish?  Looking for a way to dress up the umpteenth chicken dish of the week?  This might just be the ticket.  Robust, tangy, pop of spice, and long on flavor, I could see this being a staple in anyone’s pantry.

Smorgasburg

I’m not sure how much fun Smorgasburg would have been last week in the rain when I was inside at TECHMunch, but today it was a great day to get out there and see what was on offer.  By no means does my list of the things that I ate, bought, and sampled do justice to the talented and hard-working vendors who were out there today.  I didn’t even get to touch on the farmers market folks who were also selling gorgeous seasonal berries and greens, many of which were used by the food artisans to create their products.  I highly recommend taking a break from your usual Saturday routine to check out this rapidly-evolving part of Brooklyn and to spend some time wandering around Smorgasburg to discover some of your new favorite things to eat.

Buon appetito!

Brooklyn Uncorked 2011 by Edible Magazine

So much wine, so little time.  That’s a bit what it felt like walking in to the Brooklyn Academy of Music last night for the Brooklyn Uncorked festival put together by Edible Magazine (Manhattan, Brooklyn, and East End).  With 26 tables of wines and 14 food options (according to the website), this was a cornucopia of eating and drinking options showcasing the variety of Long Island wines as well as displaying culinary talents from Brooklyn and Manhattan.  My friend who went with me and I did our best to try to sample something from everyone, with apologies to those whom we missed.

“Starving the South” at The Culinary Historians of New York

On the day 150 years ago when the Battle of Fort Sumter started, kicking off the conflict that almost ripped the United States into shreds, Andrew F. Smith introduced his book “Starving the South: How the North Won the Civil War” at an event hosted by the Culinary Historians of New York.  Appropriately, this gathering was held with dishes featuring foods of the South provided by the members of the organization.  61 Local, which opened fairly recently in Brooklyn, was the meeting site.

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Tasting Brooklyn Event by Brooklyn Exposed

Last night I ventured over the river to a loft in DUMBO for the first Tasting Brooklyn event by Brooklyn Exposed to try specialities prepared by more than 20 food and drink vendors.  The evening was sponsored by Bao Fresh Kombucha and Fairway Market (opening this summer on the Upper East Side!).  This was a great opportunity to try dishes from some places I’ve never visited as well as to see some food folks whom I hadn’t run into in a while.

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