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ISO Plain Focaccia

i love artopolis, yaxpac--especially their mini chocolate-hazelnut tarts! but i digress...it would never ever have occurred to me to look for focaccia there... i manage to get there every so often from brooklyn and will most definitely look out for their focaccia thanks for the tip.

Apr 24, 2015
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

ISO Plain Focaccia

thank, jen... i was lucky enough to try a muffuletta from the iconic central grocery in new orleans--waaaaay back in the day--i do recall that round loaf which zbs also describes but had heard it was tough to find outside new orleans--but am intrigued by the round loaves you both describe. ty for the gap idea as well.

Apr 24, 2015
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

ISO Plain Focaccia

will wait for curiosity to strike and check out the recipe--thanks, zbs--i do love serious eats fwiw.

and thanks too, for the parisi rec. i will try to check that out.

meant to respond to zbs here but think i replied to jen...sorry about that...

Apr 24, 2015
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

ISO Plain Focaccia

zbs, In theory, it is good to know I can make focaccia on my own so easily. But to be perfectly honest, I'd prefer not to. I cook from-scratch meals 5-6 nights per week--and mostly, I enjoy it. To keep it that way, I need to recharge by either going out for dinner or doing the occasional sandwich night. And I have grown especially fond of the muffaletta, since it is that rare sandwich that actually tastes better as it sits. So I can make it in the afternoon and return home several hours later with dinner done and ready to go. Pure heaven. But I will look into homemade focaccia out of curiosity. Thanks.

Apr 23, 2015
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

ISO Plain Focaccia

Jen, thanks so much for the suggestions. Coluccio's was my first impulse re: finding muffaletta mix, so I will check it out--it is just not often easy to get there, given their (to me) limited hours. La Fornaretta sounds great and I will most definitely try that as well for focaccia. Thanks.

Re: Trader Joe's, I am a big fan of the store, but for specific items. I could see how their rendition of muffaletta mix would not be all that great. And re: Whole Foods, I am a fan as well...but again, only for specific items. Their deli salads, for instance, are appalling. And their breads, are definitely hit or miss, as are their other in-house baked goods. For awhile,they were selling the wonderful scones from Ovenly, and now I only see their in-house scones--so not the same!

Apr 23, 2015
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

ISO Plain Focaccia

Thanks to everyone for your recs. Fwiw, I wound up finding plain-ish focaccia @ Whole Foods--plain-ish because it was sprinkled with rosemary & cheese. I was dubious since I am still recovering from the dry and just plain bad Irish Soda Bread I purchased from WF a few weeks ago...but I decided to take a chance. Once sliced in half, the top part of the bread wound up with a few holes which made some of our sandwiches a bit awkward to eat...but it otherwise worked out well.

I am intrigued by the rec for La Boulangerie--A bit of onion or rosemary would not be a deal breaker--I just don't want tomato or any flavors that would really clash with a muffuletta. I would also love to try Salumeria Rosa--though I rarely go that far uptown.

Muffuletta spread btw is totally life altering when it comes to making sandwiches. We just finished our very first jar of the stuff, which ironically enough, we bought in Montreal of all places. But am assuming it is easy to find here????

Apr 21, 2015
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

ISO Plain Focaccia

Am wondering if anyone knows where I can purchase plain focaccia bread? I would like to make muffuletta sandwiches and had heard that this is closest to the bread they use in New Orleans... I have made them before with ciabatta--and they turned out great...but would love try it this way --and the only kind of focaccia I tend to see are those with tomato. I have a car and am willing to travel...

Thanks in Advance!

Apr 18, 2015
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Oh, Marcus, Why?

Lesson learned, bkeats. Though if I were being really honest, I *may* give Streetbird one more chance in a few months because I really liked the ambience and gentle prices.

If you take a look at Yelp, there are a number of negative reviews that reflect my experience. (yes, I know that Yelp isn't the most reliable source, but in this case, those one and two-star reviews are on the money). I am just really curious to see if this place evolves in any sort of positive way due these reviews.

Apr 17, 2015
brooklynsabra in Manhattan

Oh, Marcus, Why?

I confess that my warm & fuzzy feelings toward Samuelsson are based more on the "appealing narrative" that abbzz mentions than any firsthand culinary experience in recent years. He comes off as very likeable and good pr or not, it really does feel like he is doing his part in terms of contributing to the vibrance of Harlem.

For me, the funky interior of Streetbird comes off as a genuine homage from someone who is deeply passionate about Harlem's history, music, & culture. There is a real joy there. But, the food...What really bothers me is that on the one hand, Samuelsson is offering up a celebrity-chef experience at prices pre-gentrification Harlem residents (and real people like myself) may actually be able to afford on some sort of regular basis. On the other hand, he underestimates them by serving up such uninspired, mediocre food.

It is disheartening to hear that Red Rooster is, for the most part, "meh" as far as the food goes, and that Samuelsson has not been "on his culinary game," for lack of better way to put it, for some time.

Apr 17, 2015
brooklynsabra in Manhattan
1

Oh, Marcus, Why?

So I am a Marcus Samuelsson fan from way back to his Aquavit days. In recent years, I have really liked his persona on The Taste and have long wanted to try his restaurant, Red Rooster up in Harlem--but with so many other splurge-worthy sounding restaurants on my list to visit, I have never made it there. At any rate, when I heard that he was opening Streetbird Rotisserie, a venture offering what sounded like a funky ambience & food to match--at real-people prices, I was all over it.

We went this past Saturday night (yes, I know it's not fair to rate a restaurant that's barely been open a week, but c'mon, it's Marcus). Anyway, the interior of the restaurant-with an 80's hip-hop theme--was impressive and the complementary music was fun, if a bit too loud... But the food was so, so underwhelming I am not sure where to begin. It felt like more effort was put into designing the interior of this place than designing and executing the menu. I really wanted to love it, but alas...

Anyway, just wondering if anyone else has been and what your experience was like?

Apr 14, 2015
brooklynsabra in Manhattan

Rudy Merlin Executive Chef of Payard Caesar's Palace Las Vegas Turning out sublime confections in New Age Asian Market on Northern Blvd and 160th Street

I did not try the pistachio croissant and will give it a whirl on another visit. I do plan on giving this place another shot in spite of my not-so-great experience this time... And Spicy Lanka sounds like it may be worth a try as well.

Apr 14, 2015
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Rudy Merlin Executive Chef of Payard Caesar's Palace Las Vegas Turning out sublime confections in New Age Asian Market on Northern Blvd and 160th Street

I wanted to thank you, Zenfoodist for your passionate recommendation of Rudy Merlin and his baked goods. It has been a long time since a chowhound post has actually compelled me to try a place. Sure, back in the day, enthusiastic posts led me to spots like Di Fara, Tanoreen, Georgian Bread, Russian Ravioli, Srip, Taci's & Cannelle, to name just a few... But in recent years..not so much.

And so it was that I found myself at New Age Supermarket a couple weeks back. It was a Sat. night and they were offering half-price on all their pastries. So keeping in mind that there wasn't a ton to choose from, we got a strawberry tart, a pistachio eclair, a coffee eclair, and a yuzu tart. The eclairs were both a bit on the soggy side by the time we got our hands on them. But I feel like it is still fair to critique the fillings. The coffee one was good, but the pistachio filling was a pretty green--yet totally flavorless. The yuzu filling had a nice citrusy tang, but the crust was soggy. My husband downed the strawberry tart before I had a chance to try it and said he liked it fwiw, but was not blown away.

To be fair, we wound up eating these over the course of a couple days and I don't think they were at their best so I am going to return at some point to try gain.

As an aside, I loved the supermarket and easy parking. I picked up some fantastic Thai basil, among other things.

Apr 13, 2015
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Black Bean Cakes with Fried Eggs and Avocado Crema

Apr 12, 2015
brooklynsabra in Recipes

Kosher for Passover cakes in Brooklyn: any recs?

Another not strictly kosher for passover rec. with potential: robicelli's in bay ridge. while i have never been a big fan of their much-lauded cupcakes, i recently tried their sfingi (apparently for st. joseph's?) and fell in love with that and am now all about exploring their non-cupcake options-so i noticed that they are offering special order passover cakes including a very interesting sounding one: tiramatzoh--a riff on tiramisu--like it sounds. if i weren't going to a strictly kosher seder i would so bring one as a hostesss gift...

http://robicellis.tumblr.com/

Mar 30, 2015
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Reading about JoMart candy

jomart is one of my favorite "pre-hipster brooklyn" spots... but it is a schlep so i don't get there often. as another poster mentioned, the chocolate-covered marshmallows are great--and come in flavors like coffee & maple. am also a fan of the chocolate covered halvah, and other chocolate covered items like orange peel and ginger. the bark is good too--and there is also a baking section if you are into that, plus lots of other treats. (based on my last visit which was quite awhile ago)

i am not sure where you will be coming from, but i think it is best to combine a visit to jomart with other food-centric stops. michael's of brooklyn--an italian restaurant /takeout spot is right next door. i have never eaten there...but once got a wonderful fruit tart from them that i still remember. and if you will have a car, the famed difara pizza is on ave. j. not terribly far. i think also that brennan & carr, famous for its roast beef sandwiches, is not too far--(though i am a rollin' roaster girl myself).

on one of our first visits to jomart, the owner mentioned that he used the same chocolate as jacques torres for whatever it may be worth. jomart's chocolate is indeed good--though i'd say the treats are not as "refined" as j. torres, but definitely worth a trip to try--

Kosher for Passover cakes in Brooklyn: any recs?

i have to agree that strictly kosher for passover that also happens to taste good--in dessert form--sadly, that is a challenge to find--especially with bakeries tending to omit dairy as well to make the cake pareve.

but if you want to switch up the usual ladybird cake which is i am assuming not kosher for passover in the strictest sense but maybe a flourless chocolate cake or something(?) maybe try betty--an admittedly pricey (though so is ladybird) bakery on atlantic ave in boerum hill. though i think you would need to get your oder in today, maybe they would make an exception. here is what they offer:

http://www.bettybakery.com/blog/

good luck and please post if you find someplace good .

Mar 27, 2015
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Best St. Joseph's Day pastry (sfingi di San Giuseppe) in NYC?

Like I said, I am a total newbie when it comes to these pastries, and have not been a big fan of the cupcakes from Robicelli's...but really fell in love with the sfingi--they may still have them to try now... (and from what I have been reading about this place, their pies are great too, but I digress)

Mar 25, 2015
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Supermarket in Brooklyn for Passover items

After I suggested Pomegranate, I realized it is rather posh and not what the OP was looking for in terms of Passover bargains...That being said, it is a great kosher store to explore--and since the OP is interested in supermarkets like Shoprite, there is one on MacDonald Ave. not terribly far from Pomegranate so the OP could check out both...

Just as an aside re: Pomegranate, my (Israeli) husband was looking for tahini made with unhulled sesame seeds, which he had enjoyed on a recent trip to Israel--insisting that it is healthier and richer-tasting--and managed to find it there (@ Pomegranate) after checking out a bunch of other places, including Whole Foods, Sahadi & Fairway. We also often stop there when we need to bring something strictly kosher for a meal at my religious brother's house. They have all kinds of house-made dips--and also an in-house bakery--both great when you need to bring a hostess gift of some kind...It is a great store to explore if you are at all into food even if you only wind up buying just a handful of things.

Mar 25, 2015
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Hometown Bar-B-Que Red Hook

As I mentioned in an earlier post, it is all about the brisket @ Hometown-and it is good to hear others concur. I agree that the pulled pork is just "okay..." but the sauces in the squeeze bottle, which are quite good, help elevate it. The ribs that I have had have good flavor but do not fall off the bone. Am a fan of the mac & cheese--which if memory serves, is kicked up with some sort of creamy, spicy rotel / velveeta combo though perhaps that has changed. The potato salad is also very good--The bummer is that every time I have eaten here, they are out of lamb belly--Every time.

Mar 25, 2015
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Best St. Joseph's Day pastry (sfingi di San Giuseppe) in NYC?

I know I am a bit late to the party, but I wanted to give a shoutout to Robicelli's on 5th Ave and about 90th in Bay Ridge, Bklyn. Ironically enough, this place specializes in cupcakes, but I have always found them very hit or miss. So this time, over this past weekend, I decided to go the perverse route and seek out the most "anti-cupcake" item in the shop and was drawn to their chocolate-espresso-orange sfingi--which I believe is baked.

In all honesty, I have never tried this type of pastry before--so I am not really sure what I should have been looking for...The pastry tasted like it was made out of choux dough--like what you'd use to make an eclair or cream puff. It could have been a bit crisper...but honestly, I did not care. I loved the chocolate custard filling and the pop of orange was anything but subtle which was just what I'd hoped for--alas, the espresso flavor was impossible to detect, but honestly, I really loved this too much to quibble! I could eat it this pastry all day every day.

And if I had to be honest again, I am not the biggest fan of Italian pastries. But this was delicious! It was glazed with chocolate, garnished with candied orange, and not overly sweet--one of the things I do appreciate about Italian pastries. I almost never get to Bay Ridge, and yet, am plotting to get my hands on one of these again.

Mar 24, 2015
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Supermarket in Brooklyn for Passover items

I tend to go to Brooklyn- Fairway for Passover goods--but you have that in Manhattan... Another option is Pomegranate--a huge kosher supermarket in Midwood on Coney Island Ave. & Ave. L. They have all kinds of products and it is actually very aesthetic and pleasant to shop there--though it will likely be totally mobbed for Passover.

http://thepompeople.com/

Kao Soy--new Thai in Red Hook

I will be the first to admit I am not educated re: all the regional differences re: Thai cuisine. So maybe I just prefer the cuisine style of Srip--especially the salads--and in fact, I did try the beef salad at Kao Soy and for me it did not compare to Srip's in terms of the way the beef was sliced (too thick and maybe even a different cut) and the lack of fresh herbs, pop of flavor, textures etc.(The only salad I have been disappointed by @ Srip is the Papaya) But again, maybe it's a regional thing, as you say, Peter. Fwiw, I am not a fan of Pok Pok either...

I do have to add that seriouseats did a write up doing a direct comparison between Srip and Chao Thai, written by a widely respected recipe developer/food writer, so perhaps they are more similar than you say...

http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2011/0...

Good to know btw that Kao Soy does a good green curry with noodles--The curries btw have always been a strength for me at Srip.

Mar 11, 2015
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Kao Soy--new Thai in Red Hook

I had dinner here a couple times awhile back and ultimately, just did not like it enough to forsake Sripraphai--even though it would mean a much shorter schlep.

I agree that the kao soy is very good (and better than Srip's) and I was also intrigued by this herbal sausage dish I tried that included some sort of greens, rice and a spicy sauce of some kind, if memory serves. Problem was, we ate each component separately--and only after we were done, did we notice another table turning it into wraps with the greens, which looked much more appealing. I wish we'd been instructed to do that--so maybe I will return for the chance to try this dish properly.

My problem was with just about everything else we tried. The salads did not have the pop of flavor and abundant fresh herbs and textures that I love from Srip. And we tried some other dishes that I cannot even recall they were so I hate to say it, "meh".

Are there any sure bets at this place in terms of what to order? I'd get the afforementioned sausage dish again--and the kao soy--but what else?

Mar 10, 2015
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

ISO of Great Kosher Bakery to make several cakes for Bar-Mitzvah Party

Thanks for the suggestions so far everyone! I confess I am skeptical re: Kosher pareve bakeries--aside from breakfasty things like babka and rugelach, most kosher pareve baked goods are disapponting. But here's hoping!

Mar 10, 2015
brooklynsabra in Kosher

ISO of Great Kosher Bakery to make several cakes for Bar-Mitzvah Party

Hello All,

I am posting on behalf of a friend who is trying to organize a bar-mizvah party to be held in the Chelsea area of Manhattan. From what I understand, she wants to serve several small cakes in different flavors. I am going to assume they need to be pareve. She is French and not into overly sweet frosting etc., so any bakery that could cater to that would be great--though not a deal breaker. I was also thinking that maybe even a kosher restaurant that does great desserts / catering might be able to assist her--so am open to that as well.

Thanks in Advance!

Mar 09, 2015
brooklynsabra in Kosher

Morgans BBQ Vs. Dino-BBQ (union)

If food is your top priority, I agree with the consensus. Go to Hometown in Redhook. I have either liked or loved nearly everything I have tried there--especially the brisket. The sauces are great and sides like the mac 'n cheese and potato salad are particularly good. the only thing I did not like at all was the chicken--which had way too much smoke for me. All of this being said, if you are planning a special dinner, it may be stressful to have it @ Hometown--seating is cafeteria-style as in first-come first served, and you have to order your food at the register. I have certainly seen big parties here...but if it were me, it would make me hesitate a little.

I went to Morgan's once and was underwhelmed by everything I tried, which included ribs, brisket and some sort of big salad. And given how mediocre everything was, it also seemed pricey.

So that leaves Dinosaur. I believe you can make reservations on opentable if you plan in advance (they tend to book fast) so if guaranteed seating is important to you, I would consider this place. Until I discovered Hometown,this was my local spot. If you order wisely, I think eating here can be enjoyable--and I would definitely choose it over Morgan's. The jumbo wings have always been great on my visits; the fried green tomatoes are good--and the ribs have ranged from so-so to fall-off-the-bone--luck of the draw with those I guess. But at least they offer the platter deal with a full rack of ribs and several sides that totally beats the value at Morgan's...

Mar 06, 2015
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

ISO Tips re: Creating a Ginger Frosting

OP here... The idea of ginger essence really appeals to me... So thank you for this idea! Also love the idea of infusing ginger into milk or cream to create ginger flavor. I have never made a flour frosting though I keep hearing about how great these are. I can't seem to get past the thought of using flour to frost a cake--it just doesn't compute. But I'd like to try it. I had already thought of adding candied ginger which I love...My ideal would be a rich, creamy gingery frosting that is not overly sweet. In addition to gingerbread, I'd love to use it as a cookie filling for ginger-molasses cookies... At any rate, thanks everyone for your great suggestions!

Dec 15, 2014
brooklynsabra in Home Cooking

ISO Tips re: Creating a Ginger Frosting

I am CRAZY about ginger and have often wondered if I could come up with a truly gingery frosting I could use to amp up my favorite gingerbread (the fresh gingerbread recipe from the Chow site btw). Has anyone tried to create a frosting with this flavor? I am not about subtlety, so I really want to be able to taste the ginger... I was thinking maybe the concentrated ginger juice from the Ginger People would be a place to start... but really, I have no idea. I love cream cheese frosting for this particular cake...but am open to buttercream ideas as well.

Thanks in advance!

Dec 13, 2014
brooklynsabra in Home Cooking

Pumpkin Schmumpkin: What About Cranberries?

OP here. I just happened to spot a cranberry pie recipe that was just posted on smitten kitchen: http://smittenkitchen.com/ an all cranberry pie with a pecan streusel to be exact. It is not chocolate and cranberry which I had originally been pining for, but it looks gorgeous and I just may try it.

Brooklyn Source for Russ & Daughters-Esque Chopped Liver?

Thanks, Mike R. I am familiar with Eagle Provisions and it is good to know they may have it there. Peck's sounds like an interesting option as well. The thing with Shelsky's is the price--I think it may be more expensive than Russ & Daughter's--so it is good to know about other possibilities.

Nov 20, 2014
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs