Tag Archives: Brooklyn

Foodshed Market at Brooklyn Commons

With the frigid temperatures outside, I’m grateful that some of the folks from the farmers markets have moved indoors for a bit.  Today, some friends of mine and I paid a visit to one of these, the Foodshed Market at the Brooklyn Commons.  This space is not only being used to host vendors on Sundays, it also has other activities taking place during the week and special food demos on market day.

Normally, it would take a lot to pry me off of the couch to venture out of doors when the thermometer gets this low but having been there a couple of Sundays ago, I knew that there would be some great treats waiting for me at the end of my subway trip, including a Lobster Roll from Luke’s Lobster.  One of these was the lovely display of fish from Joseph Fisheries out of Montauk on Long Island, from whom I’d bought the gorgeous sole that went into the Sole with Lemon-Butter Sauce that I made a couple of weeks ago.  I looked for it again today, but, alas, there wasn’t any.  I was a bit disappointed, but there was so much else to check out at the market today.

There was a favorite of mine, Mosefund Farm, with their amazing Italian brats (on left) and applewood smoked bacon.  I was told that beer brats, a hot Italian sausage, and a breakfast sausage will be arriving soon as additions to their product line.  I can’t wait to try those out when they arrive.  Another vendor whom I’ve mentioned before, Brooklyn Cured, was also there with his country pate and other offerings (on right).  I’m still keeping my eyes peeled for when he has his homemade mustard available for sale, as I think it goes perfectly with his smoked pork rillettes.

What was great about this market, too, was the chance for me to discover some new vendors as well.  One of this was Las Delicias with all their gorgeous pastries.  The Lavender Madeleines had a delicate floral perfume that complemented the soft, sweet cake.  I walked off with an Almond Kouing Amman which was flakey on the outside but buttery rich and robustly almondy on the inside, much like biting into an almond croissant.  Both of these were perfect afternoon treats and just enough to keep me going to check out the rest of the market.  They also carry some savory tarts as well, if you wanted to pick up something to have later on.  The husband of the owner, who was manning the table said that she (the owner) had been talking to the Greenmarket about selling in their stalls as well, so these items might be available in your neighborhood soon.

There was plenty to snack on at other tables, too.  Tierra Farm was selling its organic nuts and other products.  They have an Agave Ginger Cashew that could be an addictive afternoon snack with its sweet-sharp bite.  If you’re looking at something different to serve for your Superbowl party this year, you should check out Samios Foods (photo above) who had several flavors of their Greek skordalia out for everyone to try.  This is creamy like hummus, but with a bit of a punch from the garlic or savory note from the rosemary, depending upon the version that you try.  I really loved the contrast between its smooth texture and the crispy flatbreads that we used to taste it.

If your sweet tooth wants to be satisfied, there’s plenty in that area as well.  My friends and I liked the samples of toffee from Pure Goodies (unfortunately, their site is down at the moment).  The original and milk chocolate toffee was sweet, crunchy, buttery, and all the things it should be, much like my own version.  Their Maple Bacon flavor was smokey and sweet at the same time, if you can believe that that combination works.  It truly all blended together harmoniously.  The real hit, I think is their Cayenne Sea Salt toffee, which starts out smooth and sweet and then hits with a pop of heat at the end, in a surprising twist.  It is just enough spark to make you want to go back for another piece.

Then, there was Cibelli Chocolates who brought a smooth, creamy sea salt caramel for us to try.  Beautifully decorated, these come in interesting flavors like Peanut Butter and Jelly and Masala Chai.  Not all of these were my favorites, I have to be honest, but the passion is definitely there in the production.  I just wish my photos could do justice to how lovely these all looked.  Definitely keep an eye on her website, as she said she’s doing something special for Valentine’s Day.

Upstairs today, as the market has two floors, we checked out Swoon who had sweet and savory items on display.  The owner sells at markets, through his website, and has other private customers.  His products are gluten free and/or vegan, and he sells soups, cookies, cupcakes, dressings, and other prepared items.  The vegetarian (soy-free) meatball in tomato sauce had a great, rich, satisfying flavor.  I’m not sure that I could pass it off on my carnivore siblings for dinner, but it might be worth a try with these.  The Cucumber-Dill Dressing would have gone perfectly with the salmon my friend is thinking about fixing tonight with its creamy texture and crunch.

The hit of the market for us, however, had to be the folks at The Stand.  I’ve heard them mentioned in the press, but I’d never come across their products until now.  I had no idea what I’d been missing.  Using locally-available and seasonal ingredients, where they can, they are among the folks who are tapping into the naturally-made soda market here in New York.  With flavors like Quince, Meyer Lemon, Caramel-Apple, and Cranberry-Lemon, we were thinking “Cocktail Party,” although these are actually designed to be used with carbonated water to make homemade sodas.

All of these syrups would make wonderful hostess gifts or presents to oneself.  They also had samples of sweet quince jam and mouth-puckering Meyer lemon jam to try as well.  Those would go very well with several dishes I could think to put together or even as complements to a cheese platter.  You could even cheat and use the lemon one with a tagine, instead of preserving lemons yourself (I won’t tell anyone.).

There’s so many things available in just the relatively small space of the Foodshed, that it’s hard to do justice in this short post to all of it.  There were lots of vendors selling a wide variety of products, including raw produce.  The folks from Bambino’s Ravioli had lovely fresh pasta and today had fresh cannolis along with tubs of cannoli cream.  Divine Brine (whom I’d first tried at Pickle Day) had their pickles and chutneys available, perfect companions for winter’s heavier dishes.  For those who like amazingly delicate and rich meats, the people at Hudson Valley Duck were on hand to demonstrate their smoked duck breasts, duck rillettes, and duck proscuitto.  The only downfall of today’s visit is that I realized that I just don’t have the refrigerator space or weekly food budget to buy all of these items.  I guess I’ll just have to go back there again throughout the season to pick up something new every week.  It definitely beats having to shop at several different stores, trudging home in the freezing cold with all my bags.

Buon appetito!

Gifted at Brooklyn Flea

Yesterday, I braved the cold and bone-chilling temperatures to head to the Williamsburgh Bank Building in Brooklyn to check out the Gifted holiday fair at the Brooklyn Flea.  Once inside, there were several floors of stalls to visit.  What I was looking for were some of the food vendors.  My goal was to find some great foodie stocking stuffers to take back to my family in Virginia.  I didn’t even realize we were doing stocking presents until I got an email from my sister last week.

Off in a side room, I found some of my favorite local food makers.  I think I went a bit crazy at the Liddabit Sweets table.  There are going to be some sugar-high kids at my parents’ house on the 25th, and I’m not talking about the grandkids.  I can’t reveal all, in the event that my siblings are going to take the time to read this post, but there’s popcorn and brittle and lollipops, and candy bars in my goodie bag.

I also managed to make room for a couple of jars from Rick’s Picks.  If you’ve read any of my previous post about their products, you can probably guess which ones I bought.  I also passed by Schoolhouse Kitchen‘s table to chat with them and to pick up their absolutely delicious Cherry, Blackberry, Sage, and Clove Spreadable Fruit.  What was really great about the day, however, was also that I also got to meet some new vendors and to sample some wonderful new treats.  Some of these should definitely make your holiday gift list.

One of the people I talked to for a bit was Jenna of Whimsy & Spice.  I knew when I passed by her table that I’d seen the gorgeously-designed and very practical measurement conversion charts previously.  She has it in wall format as well as as a tea towel.  I was drawn to the beautiful cookies and sweets in various flavor combinations like chocolate and cardamom and pumpkin and ginger.  I decided to pick up some Caramel Marshmallows to enjoy in a cup of steamy hot chocolate in an attempt to keep warm this weekend.

I didn’t have to look very far to find a hot chocolate mix.  Nunu Chocolates, which I’d first seen a the Union Square Holiday Market, was serving hot chocolate “shots” for $2.00 each.  I was hoping that a taste of it might warm up my toes.  At first sip, I savored the taste of smooth, creamy chocolate with a hint of cinnamon.  Then came the kick of chili.  This mix is flavored based upon their Mezcal Chili chocolate.  They also have various boxes of caramels and other chocolates for sale at their stands.

Another item with which I fell in love was The Brooklyn Salsa Company‘s line.  Made with mostly locally-sourced ingredients, the flavors in these jars are fresh and pack a big punch.  Named after New York boroughs, each one has its own personality to match.  The Queens would be perfect to have alongside a filet of some whitefish to give it a tropical flare.  The Manhattan and Staten Island ones were good as eating salsas, but I could also see them being good to use to make a tray of enchiladas or to dress up huevos rancheros.  I picked up a jar of the Bronx which, with its smokey, roasted eggplant and pepper layers, reminded me of Arthur Avenue and shopping in the Italian markets but with more of a kick.  The Brooklyn was hot and should be on your list of things to buy for the person who likes spicy things.  A seasonal flavor was the Sleepy Hollow, which I wished I know about for Thanksgiving.  It would have been perfect to have on hand to finish off the last of that turkey.

The other two food stands that were in the same section were McClure’s Pickles and Fine & Raw Chocolate.  Having picked up a couple of jars at Rick’s Picks, I knew that I didn’t have any room for their Bloody Mary Mix.  Next time, I’ll have to correct that.  I did try the Crystals + Sea Salt Chocolate and the Bonbon at Fine & Raw.  The later was smooth and rich and almost truffle-like to taste.  There was a mild aroma of coconut from the way that they process their chocolate which added to the luxurious mouth-feel of the sample I tried.  The box of two was small enough to fit into my goodie bag.

On my way out of the market, a non-food stand caught my eye.  I know, hard to believe that my foodie mission could be diverted, but these items are very cute and practical.  Map Tote‘s environmentaly-friendly, locally-made, bags each feature a different city map drawn in a unique and whimsical design.  I wish I’d discovered these earlier.  They also had wine totes and t-shirts.  Some of these might make it into the homes of friends and family.  And, in a moment of filial solidarity, I voted that Minneapolis/St. Paul should be the next city designed.

So, if you haven’t finished your holiday shopping yet or are just looking for some unique items to have on hand as gifts, I recommend that you get thee to the Flea before Gifted closes on the 23rd.  Also, if you need other ideas, check out my original post for food-themed holiday presents for this year.  Hope that you find some delicious ones!

Buon appetito!

Brooklyn Oenology (BOE) Opens Their Tasting Room

As Tweeted around yesterday by Grub Street, Brooklyn Oenology (BOE)  has opened a tasting room in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This venue has been operating for almost two weeks now, showcasing its own label BOE Wines as well as wines, cider, and spirits produced in New York State. A friend of mine and I visited it on its opening night and really enjoyed the casual, slightly industrial, mildly rustic atmosphere. Most important of all, we liked the wines.

I’m a recent convert to New York State wines, and I’ve gotten to taste a few amazing ones at some of the food-related events to which I’ve been invited. Visiting the BOE Tasting Room gave me an opportunity to sample a few of the great bottles that Alie Shaper,  owner and winemaker has created using New York State grapes (the premise of the label and brand). The staff is approachable, friendly, and knowledgeable about the wines that they carry and will assist you in getting to know the personalities of the vintages, as they did with my friend and I. What is interesting, too, is that the labels on the BOE bottles peel off so that you can keep a record of what you have sampled or create your own artists’ scrapbook with the gorgeous designs.

The wine menu allows you to try the wines by the taste, by the glass, or by the bottle. Wines are also available by purchasing flights of four tastes each. When my friend and I ordered two separate flights, it gave us the chance to dip into several varieties of New York State wine from a few different labels, but didn’t leave us so wined-out that we couldn’t consider going back to order a glass of our favorite find. Having been at other places where the flights had more glasses to try, I found that having just the four was the right amount and price point to make an enjoyable and light evening out.

A few weeks back, I had had a chance to try the BOE 2007 Social Club Red at Jimmy’s No. 43 as another friend and I were wrapping up our East Village Eats walking tour. I’m not an oenophile in any sense of the word, and my wine philosophy is that I enjoy those that are as drinkable on their own as they are paired with food. With one sip, I could see that this was one of those wines. Having tasted several of the other ones that Alie has produced as well, this seems to be characteristic of her wonderful work.

The BOE 2009 Rosé, which I enjoyed thoroughly, was the color of watermelon Jolly Ranchers, which is not to say that as a deterrent. As my server said “It’s as though people are trying to hang on to summer as long as possible,” which is what is making it a popular order. My thoughts are similar. Too often, people shy away from this particular wine because they think it is too light and frou-frou. This glass holds flavors of ripe summer melon and warm berries with enough tart sweet balance and robust flavor to make it a perfect bottle to share with friends or serve with a lighter meal.

The BOE 2009 Riesling “Friend” was filled with lighter, crisper fruit flavors without the sweetness that has usually made me shy away from this wine. These bottles come with the same beautiful, peel-away labels as the others in the BOE line; however, they also contain something special. Proceeds from these sales are donated to the cause for safety in pet food, an issue important to the artist who lost an animal due to toxicity in its food.

One of the wines that my friend and I both enjoyed enormously was the BOE 2005 Merlot,  their original vintage. Its warm aroma and ruby red color just draw you into the glass. One sip is full of wonderful dark red fruits just filling your palate. This is the wine to savor for the colder months coming up whether by the fireplace or around the table eating a hearty roast dinner.

This is definitely what one could call a “local.” The art on the walls and on the wine labels is made by neighborhood talent, and the food to nibble on while sipping your beverages is also locally-made.* On the walls are creations made from pulling apart old wine barrels and layering them to create an uniquely thematic affect for a tasting room. Some of the décor was also reclaimed from the warehouse in which they are located. Their wines are available at several shops and restaurants, as listed on their website. At the present time, they do not ship outside of New York, although their products are available at some non-New York locations. If you are in town, I strongly encourage you to pay them a visit to try their wines for yourself.

Buon appetito! 

Brooklyn Oenology (BOE) Tasting Room, 209 Wythe Avenue, between N. 4th and 3rd Streets, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (tel: 718-599-1259); venue can accommodate 65 people for events 

*Foodstuff to sample and purchase include Jams from Schoolhouse Kitchen; jars of My Friend’s Mustard; Whiskey Sour Pickles and Fennel Beets from Brooklyn Brine Co.; potato and sweet potato chips from North Fork Potato Chips; and sweet treats by Tumbador Chocolate.