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The Taste 2/6/14 spoilt egos

I agree re: Jeff and Lee's arrogance. The probably feel threatened by Marina, who really is the most interesting cook on the show at this point. The food stylist also seems to be coming into her own and I don't think she should be underestimated. What I don't get is Anthony fawning all over Shellie for her "flashes of genius." She was likable and occasionally made an interesting sounding dish here and there. But genius? Did I miss something? I just didn't see it. I thought they made the right choice re: keeping the Minnesotan (Sarah?) on.

Feb 07, 2014
brooklynsabra in Food Media & News

Tasty new Mexican restaurant in Kensington

thanks for the report, jack. i live in the neighborhood and had heard good things about this place and was curious... can you describe the ambiance? do they serve beer & wine? i had heard their chilaquiles off their breakfast menu are great...and that burger you described sounds tempting too.

i have gotten my hopes up about a number of restaurants /food spots that have opened in the area during the past few years, only to be disappointed. the only area restaurant i can truly say i love has been wheated...

Jan 25, 2014
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Easy, Festive, French-Inspired Dessert to Bring to New Year's Eve Potluck?

So we are going to a potluck for New Year's. The family is French and does not seem to be into the same types of desserts that my family is drawn to. I think holiday flavors like peppermint and probably ginger too will be out of the question and I don't think they are huge fans of buttercream... They do like things like mousse and flourless chocolate cake..but I think the hostess is making the latter. Any ideas for something easy that would appeal to their palate? Maybe a tart of some kind? I know the hostess made a pear-almond tart for another get together....

Thanks in advance!

Dec 25, 2013
brooklynsabra in Home Cooking

Brooklyn Source for Good Quality Fresh Chorizo?

original poster here..thanks so much for all your replies. will definitely be checking out sunset park and the suggestion in kensington!

Dec 09, 2013
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Brooklyn Source for Good Quality Fresh Chorizo?

Thanks for the Sunset Park suggestions..I had, however, already figured Sunset Park would be the place (see my original post), but was hoping for somewhere specific, perhaps a place that someone already frequents and can recommend--

Dec 05, 2013
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Brooklyn Source for Good Quality Fresh Chorizo?

So the other day I was @ Fairway in search of fresh Mexican chorizo for a Rick Bayless recipe I wanted to make..Alas, all they seemed to have was the Spanish cured kind... I wound up finding some sort of pre-cooked chorizo sausage from Neiman Ranch that I used instead, slicing it into rounds rather than being able to use it ground--as with Mexican chorizo and the recipe turned out fine...but next time, I would love to use the real thing--I am guessing there are places in Sunset Park that sell it... Anyone????

Thanks in advance for all your suggestions

ps I am willing to travel almost anywhere in Brooklyn and possibly Queens, since I have a car.

Thanks again!

Dec 05, 2013
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Wheated - Church Avenue - loved it!

Count me in as a Wheated fan too! We have lived in the area for over a decade and have gotten our hopes up a few times re; local eateries (The Hamilton, in particular, has been a huge disappointment) At any rate, we finally got around to trying Wheated, keeping our expectations to a minimum, and we loved it! It is truly the first restaurant in the area we would choose over similar spots in other neighborhoods--and that, for us, is saying something!

At any rate, we were especially impressed with the crust of these pizzas--as for the toppings, we got one with potatoes as well, like the original poster, but ours had a drizzle of some sort of sweet sauce on it (don't recall what) and was essentially a white pizza covered with very thinly sliced potatoes--and that was the problem for us. The potatoes were so thinly sliced, we could not detect them--either re: flavor or texture. I am not sure I would order it again. We had another with spicy soppressata that we really enjoyed. We also got the Caesar and loved that it was classically made--with raw egg and anchovies--but agree that it needed more "zest.." -- perhaps some freshly ground black pepper as the original poster said...or more lemon...more garlic.

Each pie is about 12 inches and cut into 6 slices--We were able to share 2 pies between 2 grown-ups and a kid, plus the salad and we were full... I am not sure I could eat a whole pie myself...A neighboring table was enjoying a calzone special that looked fantastic...Oh yeah, my husband ,a total beer snob, declared that his IPA on tap was served "exactly as it should be..." and I enjoyed my spicy tequila-mescal cocktail.

Service was warm and welcoming, as was the ambience. It did take a while for us to get our pies--but they were worth it.

Nov 26, 2013
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Hamilton's

I am not a fan of their burger and at least the last time I was there, they served oven fries rather than typical fries. The oven fries were good for what they were, but I can make those at home. When I go out and have a burger I want the real deal when it comes to fries. When I tried the burger, I remember thinking it tasted like it had filler in it or something...but maybe it was an off night? Like the original poster, I too want to love this place!

Oct 06, 2013
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Hamilton's

I completely agree re: Hamilton's. I was so excited when it opened--finally somewhere to get a glass of wine and a burger in my very own neighborhood! But alas, I wound up being disappointed right off the bat. We tried it more than once to give it a chance and everything seemed both overpriced and mediocre. The only time I will go there at this point is for the happy hour--to grab a glass of wine at the bar and maybe risk an appetizer or two. But for what they are charging, I know I can go elsewhere and have a better meal. I think you are correct in that they have a "captive audience" within the immediate neighborhood, but with the new pizzeria opening nearby on Fort Hamilton that is bound to change.

I am not sure how I feel about other area restaurants either... I ate at Le Paddock recently and had pizza--and sliders. The beef slider was quite good and the fries were awesome if you're into the thin and crispy kind... but the rest was eh. The pizza did reheat really well and perhaps it was just underdone when it arrived at our table. All of this being said, I would choose this place over Hamilton's food wise. Not sure what is up with Brooklyn Commune's new fancier dinner service... I found it a little too formal-seeming for my taste but did not try the food. Dogwood on Church Ave. seems way too pricey for the area. But I do want to try the nearby pizzeria, Wheated...

Oct 06, 2013
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

OddFellows Ice cream Williamsburg

Lambretta,interesting that you find Ample Hills overly sweet... I confess that I almost never deviate from the salted crack caramel flavor when I am there and when I do, I tend to regret it.. but it is usually because the other flavor I choose turns out to be less distinctive--I have never noticed an overwhelming sweetness-- and I am extremely sensitive to that, forgoing sugar in both coffee and tea...

I did not try the famed cornbread flavor @ Odd Fellows so can't comment on that, but aside from the aforementioned yummy strawberry-lavender, I could not get past the sweetness in everything I tried. I did think the ice cream was super creamy which I appreciated.

Jul 02, 2013
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

OddFellows Ice cream Williamsburg

I could not agree more regarding the overwhelming sweetness of flavors here. i sampled several creative sounding flavors and can't remember any of them because nothing distinguished them apart. the only one i liked was a strawberry-lavender sorbet which balanced the 2 flavors really well. my son got liked their caramel-chorizo flavor, but i was very turned off again by the sweetness--there was no buttery, caramely taste whatsover; just sugar. and the chorizo... i am sorry but it just doesn't belong in ice cream. they seem to be trying too hard and they aren't delivering.

the standard for me in terms of a creative ice cream flavor that delivers is ample hill's salted crack caramel and they did a limited edition beer flavor with honeycomb in honor of obama that was amazing!

Jul 01, 2013
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Red Hook Ballfields - 2013

I so agree re: the Country Boys restaurant. The huarache I got there was totally and I mean totally lackluster; from the tortilla to the dry, bland filling. There was no love in that taco at all. The rest of our food was similarly uninspired. The ambiance of the place was also depressing. The service was fine--neither memorably good or bad--certainly not enough to make up for the so not Red Hook Ball Field worthy food.

May 27, 2013
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Irish Soda Bread?

I am going to answer my own post... what the heck. as it turned out, they did indeed have Irish soda bread @ Runner & Stone. The made it in large muffin form which I appreciated since I only wanted enough for a small dinner. It was pretty good, with lots of golden raisins, though not quite as world changing as their almond croissant.

Mar 18, 2013
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Irish Soda Bread?

Anyone know where I can find this? I noticed that they have it at Regina's Bakery off of Prospect Park West, but I would love some other options... Is Runner & Stone offering it? Anyone know? Am definitely willing to travel from my Kensington neighborhood for a delicious rendition of this. Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions!

Mar 14, 2013
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Is Good Tasting Low-Sodium Cooking an Oxymoron? Discuss.

well, it's a heart problem so too much saturated fat's not a good idea either...but salt is the biggest issue.

Jan 25, 2011
brooklynsabra in Home Cooking

Is Good Tasting Low-Sodium Cooking an Oxymoron? Discuss.

seriously. a very dear friend of mine is chronically ill and was told she needs to drastically limit her intake of sodium (and also iodine, which means no sea food, and a limit on eggs). she is a hardcore food lover, and has always been into cooking. but now, it is hard for her to imagine cooking anything that has flavor without adding salt. is it possible? does anyone have any recipes or tips they could share? she is a food adventurer and has no problem trying just about anything.... thanks in advance!

Jan 25, 2011
brooklynsabra in Home Cooking

Cafe Sim Sim

my experience at cafe sim sim was a mixed bag. on a saturday night, other than 2 big parties, we were the only table in there. it took forever to be acknowledged and given a menu, which turned out to be an omen re: the service for the night. our server was totally frazzled, as it turns out because, there was some sort of huge delivery order she was dealing with.

we felt for our server, but i think we would have felt even better, had we brought along a bottle of schnapps to do shots in between the looooong waits for food. speaking of which, to start we tried the eggplant salad and the kidney bean salad, with an order of bread to go with them--the eggplant salad was decent, (we definitely needed that bread for dipping) but nothing i think we'd rush to order again--there was some sort of lingering spice we couldn't quite pin point--we preferred the kidney bean salad, which was simple, but good--next up, we had the grapeleaves--i think there are 2 kinds on the menu--cold with rice, and the one we got, served warm and stuffed with lamb, topped with a yogurt-like sauce--we liked this one a lot--then we tried "kutabi" which as it turns out, is sort of like a quesadilla--filled with either ground lamb or greens. we tried both (for $1.50 per order we figured we couldn't go wrong)--the green version was really good--it was hard to figure out what sort of greens they were, but they had a distinct flavor. the lamb was nice too. finally, we shared an order of the lamb lulya kebabs--this was ground lamb cylinders, each encased in a tortilla like wrapping, topped with raw onion, and sprinkled with sumac. they came with an order of fries, that seemed like they were house-made.--in a good way-though they could have been crispier-this dish was served with a spicy - tomatoey sauce, like ketchup, but not quite.

overall, i'd be curious to try other menu items, but the meal took way too long to be served. we had our 7-year with us, who thankfully, was pretty patient, but that's not always the case.... and the whole experience really got to be almost comic, especially with the singer, singling loudly to an almost empty room--as for the food, it was quite good, but we felt like we ordered way too many ground lamb dishes and that after awhile they began to taste the same--so if we dare go back (and risk the hours long wait for food), we'd try some non-lamb dishes--

Mar 28, 2010
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

torta de reyes or kings cake in brooklyn?

there is a new almondine bakery (original is in dumbo across from j. torres chocolate) on 9th. st. off of 7th ave. in park slope. i spotted a king's cake there if that helps. there were only a couple so i would call first before heading over there.

Jan 06, 2010
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

sley deli - paleteria

i tried this place too and wasn't as enamored--especially since a couple weeks before i'd gone to a palateria in east chester that was amazing (fernandez palateria, i believe). i found the flavors of the paletas from sley deli to be muddled, and not as true as fernandez--everything was either too sweet or too spicy--the popsicles were fine since they were just $1, but i wouldn't go out of my way to go back--if anyone, however, knows of a good palateria in brooklyn, i'd love to hear about it--

Jul 12, 2009
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

DiFara Price Hike

In the greater scheme of things, a dollar here and there doesn't make a difference, but when the prices of pretty much everything keep rising, I believe it does create an impact.

I stopped going to DiFara awhile ago because I couldn't deal with the wait, but i always figured i'd get back there eventually because the pizza is great, but quite frankly, if i have to wait 20 minutes to pay $5 for a single slice, it's not going to happen, no matter how good that slice is. in this economy, it's not realistic, and i guess the only (ironic) plus re: the price hike would be that perhaps fewer people will be lining up to order from now on--

Jul 06, 2009
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Cupcake review for Cake Ambiance - AVOID

i am happy to see another poster who shares my experience with this place. i had posted earlier re: how much i enjoyed a cupcake from cake ambience, as well as the personality and charm of the owner--while i do think that .$3.00 for a smallish cupcake is pricey, no matter how good, i would certainly return for the occasional treat. (i suggested previously that there also be a selection of simply iced cupcakes, with no flowers, offered at a lower price point. i often buy cupcakes for my 6-year old, and there are certainly enough parents in this neighborhood who do the same--and speaking for myself, simpler and more affordable in this economy is preferable.

i also suggested speaking with the owner since i feel he would be receptive to feedback as well--

also, re: the lack of sweetness issue, it could be a matter of taste. i liked that the icing was minimally sweet, but that isn't for everyone.

Jul 06, 2009
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

iso settlement cookbook blueberry gingerbread recipe or other similar recipes for gingerbread

years ago, i remember making this wonderful blueberry gingerbread from one of the older editions of the settlement cookbook--now i think i may lost that edition in one of our moves and cannot find the recipe in the new version of the settlement cookbook that we have. i am not finding much online either. we have a surplus of blueberries that i'd love to make blueberry gingerbread with. does anyone have a great recipe they could share--would especially love the settlement one.

thanks in advance!

Jul 04, 2009
brooklynsabra in Home Cooking

Cupcake review for Cake Ambiance - AVOID

i had an entirely different experience when my husband and i visited the shop a couple weeks ago. we tried a chocolate cupcake and enjoyed it--the lack of sweetness in the frosting was something i actually appreciated since i'm not a fan of overly sugary icings. i did not have the problem either with the cake part being hard/frozen, and for me at least, it was moist, if a bit dense.

i would agree that the cupcakes were pricey--and i would be more likely to frequent this place if they were more affordable. i would, in fact rather, have the cupcakes simply iced without the flowers--and priced more reasonably.

when my husband i were at the shop, the owner waited on us--he was very warm and gregarious, and we enjoyed speaking with him--and really wanted to support his business after our exchange--i am wondering if perhaps he would be interested in hearing about your disheartening experience, vvv03?

i know that charging so much for a cupcake sets up high expectations, so i understand the feeling of wanting to spread the word after spending so much to wind up feeling so disillusioned--but i had a different experience--and feel that perhaps at least part of the problem may be a lack of consistency--and that the owner deserves at least a chance to rectify the situation--especially, since this is a small, local business.

again, i completely understand feeling duped--that has happened to me with various food items more times than i care to count in this city, but that was not my particular experience with this shop--

also, i am wondering, how many other bakeries freeze at least some of their goods, and allow them to thaw out--i don't know, but am now curious--

Jul 03, 2009
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Brooklyn larder failing where franny's succeeded?

had lunch at brooklyn larder recently. while all the ingredients separately were fresh and of good quality, i found the flavors together to be too subtle for my tastes. I tried the aforementioned beet and ricotta sandwich, and two sides--one was sauteed zucchini and summer squash in some sort of tomato sauce served at room temp, and another was an israeli cous cous salad. i kept thinking that garlic, pepper flakes, and/or a few dashes of vinegar, would've jazzed all of these items up one way or another--the clerk who waited on us had told us that the prosciutto and butter sandwich, and the bacon and egg sandwich were his favorites, and i'd certainly be willing to go back and try either of those, but i won't be rushing.

i also want to add that at least in our case, the clerk who waited on us appeared to take the shop's concept a bit too seriously. my gregarious husband tried to joke with him about a pricey can of imported tuna in olive oil that was on the shelves: my husband said in a totally joking way, "what's in there, gold?" --or something like that. the clerk sort of sputtered and started going on about what high quality the tuna was--maybe i'm just used to my husband's sense of humor, but he has made similar jokes (yes, he needs new material) at other places and most of the time, people laugh along with him--these are tough times--why not joke about overpriced tuna?

as an aside, afterwards we went to cake ambiance nearby for cupcakes--not an especially inexpensive spot either--and the owner was so warm and engaging--my husband insisted i post about his cupcakes here--a little bit of charm goes a long way.

btw, we also tried the $9 (!!!) pint gelato from brooklyn larder a few weeks ago, which i believe my smart alek husband purchased out of spite right after i said how crazy it was to charge so much--we tried the pistachio flavor--this i really liked, but i am not sure if it was $9.00 worth of like--j. torres is selling pints of his ice cream (yes, i know it's not gelato) for $7.50 and when his products start to sound affordable...i'm just sayin'

Jun 27, 2009
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Cake Ambiance

i am not a big fan of cupcakes (much to the total bewilderment of my 6-year old). i have tried to get the craze that has swept this city, but honestly would rather have a slice of inmho, generally superior tasting, layer cake. then the other day my husband and i walked past a small bakeshop on the 400-ish block of dean st. after having lunch at brooklyn larder (that's for another post). we noticed some really lovely looking cupcakes, decorated with flowers, in the window and decided to live dangerously and try one.

the owner immediately greeted us and we were charmed by his warmth. he described the various cupcakes and green tea was among the flavors and i *think,* blood orange. we decided to stick with good old-fashioned chocolate, with chocolate filling in the middle, which the owner described as "very rich.". i am happy to report, we were not disappointed. the cake itself was moist, chocolatey and not too sweet, and the icing and filling were rich and creamy, and also, minimally sweet.

the cupcakes are beautifully decorated, but happily they taste good too (unlike cupcake cafe if you ask me)--they are on the pricey side, but worth a splurge. and they come in two sizes--

cake ambience also sells red velvet cake, and if memory serves carrot cake. plus the owner custom bakes cakes for special occasions. i confess, i almost wanted to walk right by because the name didn't exactly draw me in, but i'm glad i took a chance.

Jun 24, 2009
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

Nunu Chocolate on Atlantic Avenue: how is it?

i tried the fleur de sel chocolate covered caramels and in all honesty, do not recall either loving them or hating them--i do recall expecting more given the cost, and that the caramel didn't have enough buttery flavor, though the chocolate was good. maybe i'm no connoisseur though--since i am pretty happy with the salted chocolate covered caramels they've been selling around christmas at trader joe's every year.

Jun 24, 2009
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs

cheap eats tour of greenwich/ west village--ideas?

when life gives you lemons, make lemonade or if all else fails, eat--that is what my husband and i have been doing since he was laid off a couple months ago--we have gone on cheap eats tours of the east village, chinatown, and hell's kitchen--i'd like to do one of greenwich village/ the west village too and would love some ideas--

i am familiar with many of the spots in the nyu area--m'amoun's (sp?), dosa cart etc. but had read about an indian sandwich place called aamchi pao that sounded interesting, as do the dark chocolate cupcakes at sweet revenge (though not that cheap)--baoguette also sounds good---i am open to any and all types of food--but would prefer it be portable, or easily eaten to-go -- am not really interested in sit-down restaurants or eating a full-meal anywhere.

thanks in advance

Jun 12, 2009
brooklynsabra in Manhattan

cupcake & icing 911

hi all,

i would like to make 24 chocolate cupcakes, plus a couple variations of icing (vanilla and maybe one more?) for my son's first grade class with the goal of having the kids decorate their own individual cupcakes -- for my son's b-day.

now, i know perfectly well that kids aren't exactly the most discerning, and yet in their own perverse ways, they are: i think in general they prefer cupcakes that are chocolatey, but not overly so--easy on any bittersweet undertones in other words--and that they prefer sugary icings to anything too buttercreamy, so with that in mind, i'd love some simple recipes/ideas. ideas for fun decorations to top the cupcakes would be great as well.

thanks in advance

Jun 04, 2009
brooklynsabra in Home Cooking

easy cranberry desserts

hi all,

i need to bring some sort of dish to my son's first grade thanksgiving lunch. i'd like it to be kid friendly, but also yummy-- i was thinking of maybe combining cranberry (preferably fresh) and chocolate in some way since i know there'll be a lot of pumpkin pies. am open to all suggestions as long as they are fairly simple and inexpensive to make.

if anyone has any other ideas for a kid-friendly thanksgiving dish (sweet or savory) to bring i'd be open to those too.

thanks in advance!

Nov 19, 2008
brooklynsabra in Home Cooking

Fluffy pita anywhere?

if you're looking for a place in brooklyn, i'd recommend pita sababa on king's highway and about east fourth st. the pita's definitely fluffy and for whatever it's worth, the only kind my 6-year old will eat (he turns his nose up at the kind at damascus). pita sababa is kosher so it closes early on friday and is closed on saturdays.

Sep 02, 2008
brooklynsabra in Outer Boroughs