Tag Archives: Local Products

We Have a “Make Your Own Soda” Giveaway Winner!!!

P&H Soda bookMake Your Own Soda” book

Congratulations to Jeremy whom the Randomizer selected as the winner for this prize!!!  A big “Thank You” to everyone who entered this giveaway!  Thank you, too, to Anton Nocito and his publishers at  for providing me with this cookbook and for allowing me to offer it to one of my readers in this giveaway.

Concord Grape Soda - P&H Soda Co.Concord Grape Soda by P&H Soda Co.

Root Beer seems to be a favorite of most of the folks who entered this contest, which was interesting to me, as I don’t really like it, except as an ice cream float (aka “Brown Cow”).  Sarsaparilla is one of the flavors that Anton makes, which is also a base taste in root beer.  I’m a huge fan of his Concord Grape soda which makes its appearance briefly at this time of the year, when the grape harvest arrives in this area.  I had a glass last week at the monthly New Amsterdam Market, which was the perfect way to kick off the day meandering around the vendors’ stalls, which I highly recommend the next time the market takes place the end of this month.

Buon appetito!

“Make Your Own Soda” Cookbook Giveaway

Anton making sodas at book signingAnton Nocito mixing sodas at his book release

One of the great things about the local NYC food scene that’s blossomed over the past several years, is seeing the growth of many talented individuals and their businesses.  One of these that has kept me hydrated and refreshed during my market excursions is P&H Soda Co., owned by Anton Nocito.  His seasonally-inspired syrups, which he turns into sodas at New Amsterdam Market and other venues, are some of my favorites in the city.

Anton making sodasAnton whipping up sodas

Growing up, soda was a special treat for me and my siblings, so I really savored every one that I was allowed to have.  Anton’s creations are wonderful and unique with flavors that would not have been among the selections that I was given as a child.  His Sarsaparilla made me re-think my dislike of root beer.  Hibiscus has become my new favorite flavor, not just in soda form, but also in Dough’s terrific donuts, so I thank him for opening up my mind and my tastebuds to it.  He’s even worked out a way to make a Candy Cap Mushroom and Toasted Almond Egg Cream.  It’s really delicious, believe me!

P&H Soda book“Make Your Own Soda” by Anton Nocito

I have one copy of his soda- and syrup-making cookbook, released earlier this summer, to give away on this website.  You can also read an interview I did with Anton here.  If you are in the NYC area, you can drop by the New Amsterdam Market this coming Sunday, as well, to sample his sodas for yourself and to become an instant fan.

The Giveaway Rules (There have to be some of these, you know.)

Eligibility: U.S. mainland residents only

To Enter: Write a comment on this post with the answer to the following question: What is your favorite flavor soda?

You must also have a valid screen name (NOT “Anonymous”) with a corresponding email address to enter this giveaway. I’ll need to be able to click on it in order to contact the winner. If you list “Anonymous” or do not have a valid email address with your comment, you will be disqualified. I do not share these addresses with anyone, and they are only for the purpose of entering this giveaway.

Deadline: Is Monday, September 30, 2013 at 12:00 p.m. EDT, based upon the date/time stamp on the comments. (I’m going to be very strict about this and make no exceptions.)

The Outcome: Only one winner will be chosen for this cookbook giveaway. I’m going to put all the entries into an online Randomizer (like this one) to come up with the winner.

Buon appetito!

Pig Island 2013 Pig Pick-up

1 - Pigs waiting to be picked up by chefsMike Yezzi of Flying Pigs Farm with the pigs

It’s T minus two days until Pig Island 2013!  Yesterday, participating chefs stopped by the Union Square Greenmarket to collect their pigs from Flying Pigs Farm.  Founder of the event, Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy’s No. 43 coordinated the pick up and made sure that everyone had a chance to meet each other as well as to talk to a few of us writer-types to give us a bit of scoop on what’s in store for this weekend.

11 - Parish Hall - pigs loaded into carPigs loaded into the car

The energy in the air was bright with everyone eager for Saturday to come and to get the pigs in their possession so that they could start cooking.  The wholesale aspect of the Greenmarket also delivered pigs to several of the chefs who couldn’t get to the market to pick them up personally.  Here’s a few of the folks who dropped by:

7 - Tyson Ho, Zarela Martinez, Flying Pigs FarmTyson Ho with Zarela Martinez

Tyson Ho of Arrogant Swine, known for his Carolina-style barbecues and pig roasts, is teaming up with Zarela Martinez, restauranteur, teacher, and cookbook author, to create a Mexican-themed whole pig dish.  They are a few of several chefs who are taking their pigs on a more south of the border spin.

2 - Hecho en Dumbo - Danny Mena & Jimmy Carbone & pigDanny Mena of Hecho en Dumbo with Jimmy Carbone

Danny Mena of Hecho en Dumbo revealed that he’ll be serving up a Yucatan dish featuring Rellenos e Negro on freshly-made tortillas.  The folks from Jimmy’s No. 43 will also be cooking up something with Latin flavors.

5 - Jesse Jones, Matt Fisher & Bill FletcherJesse Jones with Matt Fisher & Bill Fletcher of Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue

Jesse Jones shared that he’s going to be fixing some pork shanks in puff pastry and then serving them with a sauce and sides that pay homage to his late grandmother, giving his dish a Southern U.S. angle.  Matt Fisher and Bill Fletcher of Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue are taking a more Asian route with their offering.

6 - Jimmy Carbone, George Weld, Evan HanczorJimmy Carbone with George Weld and Evan Hanczor of Parish Hall

Another Pig Island veteran chef team tapping into Asian flavors for this year’s event, are the folks at Parish Hall.  I got to eavesdrop a bit while they were talking to Mike Yezzi about getting their hands on some extra pig skin with which to make their crispy pork noodles.  I’m definitely getting on line on Saturday to give that dish a try.

8 - Ducks Eatery - Will Horowitz & his pigWill Horowitz of Ducks Eatery

I didn’t get a chance to find out from Chef Will Horowitze of Ducks Eatery what he’d be fixing for the day.  Given our conversation at the press preview for the event, I’m guessing he might be doing something involving some type of charcuterie.  From what his co-chef who came to the pig pick-up said, I guess a few ideas have been bandied about for what they are planning to make.

9 - St. John Frizell of Fort Defiance & Ben Schneider of The Good ForkSt. John Frizell of Fort Defiance & Ben Schneider of The Good Fork

Two chefs who are going to going to take their pig and prepare it a bit old-school are St. John Frizell of Fort Defiance and Ben Schneider of The Good Fork.  As Ben explained, they are going to dig a pit and cook it.  It’s a bit of an experiment, they revealed, but they are confident that their prior joint barbecuing experiences will produce successful results.

10 - The Darby-Butter - Chef Michael Jenkins picking up his pig

Michael Jenkins from The Darby/Butter picking up his pigs

One team keeping their dish under wraps until the big day is the group from The Darby/Butter.  These folks had one of my favorite nibbles at last year’s gathering, so I can’t wait to try what they come up with this time around.  They also served dessert, which is something their promised to do again this year.  The words lard, butter, and flour were tossed around, so you know they are going to be making something great!

3 - Tim Cavaretta of Bittergreen with vegetables for Pig IslandTim Cavaretta with Jimmy Carbone & Rachel Wharton

For the non-carnivores, Tim Cavaretta of Bittergreen, with whom I’ve worked on a few catering events, will be at the helm of the vegetarian offerings for the event.  He stopped by yesterday to pick up a pile of gorgeous seasonal produce from the stands and the market.  Here’s a peek at his shopping bag to see what might be on the plate.

4 - Pig Island posterA list of the chefs and participating restaurants

Some tickets are still available for this event, but they are going fast.  Tickets are all-inclusive of food and drink, of which there will be plenty, along with live music.

Buon appetito!

Paper Magazine’s SuperDUPER Market

SuperDuper Market entranceSuperDUPER Market entrance

Yesterday, I headed down to Soho to check out this year’s SuperDUPER Market organized by Paper Magazine with the sponsorship of American Express and Target.  I’d dropped by this same weekend pop-up last year when it was held at Chelsea Market and had really enjoyed the mix of local food entrepreneurs, some out of town vendors, and other non-edible but food-related goods.  They managed to create a terrific energy in a small space.  Here’s some of the wonderful things I found there at this year’s event:

9 - Humphry Slocombe - photoHumphry Slocombe‘s “Secret Breakfast”
Ice cream with Bourbon & Cornflakes – oh, my!

6 - Better Off Spread - photoBetter Off Spread – nut butters in spicy and sweet flavors
My favorite was the jalapeno with its nutty beginning and punch of heat at the end

1 - Dee and Ricky & Clare Crespo - photoDee and Ricky – felt “food” toys and Clare Crespo – crocheted “oyster bar”
Really, how much fun are these? They would make such cute gifts.

7 - Gefilteria - photoGefilteria – whipping up delicious Cheese Blintzes with tangy Blueberry Sauce
My mother so loved these as a treat. After tasting theirs, I understand why.
They even make the cheese from scratch.

8 - Imperial Woodpecker Sno-balls - photoImperial Woodpecker Sno-balls – Blackberry and Cardomom Cream
I was hooked at first bite.  They also have a stand near the southern end of The Highline – what a great excuse to stop by and visit them again!

SuperDuper Market interiorInterior of the market space

There’s just one more day left to enjoy this temporary market.  With so many delicious things to taste and interesting products to sample, you’ll want to allocate a few hours to roaming around the space and to visiting all the stalls.  There’s tables set up as well so that you can sit down to enjoy the items you to nosh on while you are there.

Buon appetito!

Scharf & Zoyer at Brooklyn Oenology and Smorgasburg News

BOE-Kugel-cookingKugel warming up

Tuesday night, Scharf & Zoyer, the food vendor I’ve been cooking for at the weekly Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, held its first-ever pop-up at Brooklyn Oenology‘s tasting room.  About thirty or so folks gathered to nosh on Noah Arenstein’s takes on classic Jewish flavors re-invented in sandwich form while imbibing from BOE’s wine and beer list.  From the cleared off serving trays, raised glasses, and general good cheer, it seems as though the evening was a fantastic success.

BOE-Savory-KugelSavory Kugel

On the menu were some of the items for which S&Z has become known in the press and at the market.  We had half-size pieces of our Savory Kugel, with a green bean-spinach-walnut pesto, dill crème fraîche, and topped with fried chicken skins.  Creamy, tangy, crunchy.  This bite hit every savory, salty note, and it has been a huge hit with many of our fans.

Sweet Kugel

Sweet Kugel

For dessert, we served up our most popular item – the Sweet Kugel.  It’s the same noodle kugel that is used in the savory dish, one based on Noah’s grandmother’s recipe (several cousins were on hand to verify the authenticity of the taste).  After the kugel is fried golden brown on both sides, it’s topped with maple-farmer’s cheese, apricot-orange preserves, and topped with crispy shallots.  There’s a bit of creaminess and sweetness contrasted with a hit of savory and crunchiness given by the shallots to balance it out.

Gefilte Fish SliderGefilte Fish Slider

We also served a few other items not usually on the Smorgasburg rotation.  One of these was the Gefilte Fish slider above.  Noah’s family serves these meatball-style patties rolled in breading, fried and then allowed to get cold, rather than in the usual liquid base.  As someone who did not grow up with this dish, it’s taken a bit of converting, if you will, to win me over to them.  A dash of horseradish-mustard mayo and a dollop of carrot slaw anchor the slider firmly on a soft, squish potato bun.  The first time I had a taste of it, I was surprised at how well the flavors all melded together.  We had these on the last weekend that we did the market and they sold all right, although we did meet with some skeptics.

Meatball SlidersSweet-n-Sour Meatball Sliders

Another slider we prepared exclusively for this event featured Sweet-n-Sour Meatballs served on Potato Rolls with a sliver of Provolone cheese and a side of Mushroom Ketchup.  They were a bit messy to handle, which might be something we work on for the next time we hold a pop-up, but they were devoured by the guests and met with rave reviews from a few of them.  Having snacked on several of these during our prep sessions, so I wasn’t at all surprised, as I knew how delicious they were.

Latkes w Farmers Cheese and AljoukLatkes with Ajlouk and Farmer’s Cheese

No exploration of Jewish cuisine would be complete without latkes.  For the pop-up, we used them to showcase our Ajlouk, a savory, spicy spread with a harissa base that we usually served made-to-order with an omelet-style egg and farmer’s cheese on toasted marble rye bread.  In this incarnation, the latke served as the “bread” with a schmear of the cheese and a heaping spoonful of the Ajlouk, this time made with eggplant instead of our usual zucchini version.  Cool, hearty, crunchy all in one bite.


The other dessert we served was Mandelbrodt.  I have to brag a little bit about this one, as I’d never baked these before and took my instructions from a recipe that Noah had emailed me that was his grandmother’s.  These cookies are similar to Italian biscotti in that they are cooked twice and allowed to get dry and crispy.  Noah gave me a thumb’s up after we took them out of the oven after the second baking cycle, telling me that I’d nailed the recipe.  Whew!  He packed up the extras from the party to enjoy at home.

PicklebackPickleback at BOE

We had several other offerings on the menu as well, including Pimento Cheese, Chopped Chicken Livers, and Tuna Salad, all served to get the evening started.  To close out the night and to toast how well our first pop-up event went, Noah, Emily Hanhan (aka Nomnivorous, a mutual friend who offered to help us out for the evening), and I slugged down a pickleback from BOE’s drinks menu.  It was delicious and refreshing, and it completely hit the spot after all the prep and hard work that we put into making the night happen.

Scharf & Zoyer signScharf & Zoyer at Smorgasburg

Unfortunately, despite the success of this event, there is also some sad news to share.  Scharf & Zoyer will be taking a haitus from the weekly Smorgasburg market.  Serious Eats has been covering Noah’s progress and the development of the business this season.  Having had a front row seat as we’ve worked hard to make his concept a reality, it is disappointing that we might not be back.  There’s so many terrific food vendors in the market whom we’ve gotten to know each week.  For the complete interview and Noah’s thoughts, click here to read the article.  Thanks so much to everyone who has supported us at the market and who came to our event on Tuesday night!

Buon appetito!

New Amsterdam Market – June 2013 Market

New-Amsterdam-Market-sign1New Amsterdam Market – Information table to greet visitors

Sunday was the much-anticipated market day for the New Amsterdam Market.  At one time, I’d seen it advertised as the opening day for the summer season for this market, but it turns out, it is going to be the only one held for the next few months.  I wrote here previously about the hearings that took place at City Hall in support of the market, as the city reviews a proposal by developers for how to revamp the entire South Street Seaport area.  There is overwhelming support for the market from New York City residents, farmers, food artisans, and chefs, many of whom came out in droves on Sunday to shop, buy, eat, and to hang out and to catch up with friends.

P n H Soda - Candy Cap Mushroom & Toasted Almond Egg Cream

 P&H Soda Co. – Candy Cap Mushroom and Toasted Almond Egg Cream

One of my first stops was to grab a soda from P&H Soda Co. to pick up something refreshing to drink.  While there, I ran into Anton Nocito’s wife Erica and their adorable little guy.  Anton had on display his new book about how to make syrups and sodas at home using seasonal ingredients and experimenting with flavor combinations.  I also saw some of the group from Serious Eats hanging out nearby, enjoying some market treats, too.  I asked them what they recommended, and they pointed me in the direction of Lonestar Taco.

Lonestar Tacos - Carnitas Taco
Lonestar Taco – Carnitas Taco

They did not steer me wrong.  Although there was a bit of a wait for the taco, as they were one of the busier stands on Sunday, it was well worth it.  I opted to go with the Carnitas Taco with lots of perfectly-seasoned, rich chunks of pork nestled in a corn tortilla and dressed with mouth-puckering pickled onions and a sprinkle of cilantro which balanced out the rich, luscious meat.  It was great to see them doing so well at the market, like so many of the other prepared food vendors.  Several folks, like Luke’s Lobster and Mosefund Farms also had lines and sold out of many items before the end of the day.

Suleiman Goods - Zatar Pita
Suleiman Goods – Zatar Pita

The market on Sunday also highlighted many local farmers and food producers.  At one end, there was a bread pavilion with displays from Hot Bread Kitchen, Orwasher’s Bakery, and Runner & Stone, to name a few vendors.  There were cheese selections and other dairy products to sample and for sale, lots of gorgeous fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables from area farms, and even regionally-caught fish to take home.  It was also wonderful to catch up with some of my favorite food entrepreneur folks like Jen and Liz from Liddabit Sweets, Cyrilla from Nuts+Nuts, Scott from Brooklyn CuredChris from Kings County Jerky, and Leana from Anarchy in a Jar.  This was a terrific chance to stock up on some of their terrific products, which I had been used to seeing on a weekly basis at this market the past couple of seasons.

Spicy 'N Sweet - display
Spicy ‘N Sweet – Try their new smoky sauce!

The energy and the vibrancy of the market was palpable on Sunday, and its contribution to the community, to feeding it and to creating and fostering it was really in evidence to anyone who stopped by.  Everyone seemed really happy to be a part of this effort to revitalize the downtown area, which was so hard hit by Hurricane Sandy.  It was almost as though it was a reunion with vendors, food writers, photographers, bloggers, NYC-ers, and first-time visitors all milling around enjoying themselves amidst all the vast selection of products and nibbles to try, lots of hugs, and tidbits of local news being exchanged.  This is one of the truest expressions of how New York City is really just a large small town at heart with folks coming out to lend support to the folks who make this a more enjoyable place to live.

La Newyorkina - ice cream
La Newyorkina – Strawberry & Creamy Lime Ice Creams

At the same time, however, as I slurped down my last bite of the day, the fantastic ice cream by Fany Gerson of La La Newyorkina (who also had to rebuild her business after the storm), I felt that this gathering was somehow bittersweet.  Several of the folks with whom I spoke also seemed a bit wistful, too.  The future of this wonderful market and all the hard work that has been done to keep it going is still in jeopardy.  I don’t know that there’s a fixed date for another session, although from what I heard, there might be another one in September.  The fate of the Fulton Fish Market and the old market buildings is still being disputed as well.  I’m definitely keeping my hopes up for my friends who are vendors there and for all of us who enjoy being able to eat great food and to be able to talk to the people who produce what we consume, that there are many more wonderful days for the New Amsterdam Market like the one on this past Sunday.

Buon appetito!

For more information about New Amsterdam Market and what is going on with regards to the re-development of the former Fulton Fish Market site, you can visit their website.