Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Choice Eats - the day after

Choice Eats is already history but participants are still digesting. Tasty and exceptional food, long lines, numerous flavors, and... pork were the trends of the evening. Thumps up for the Village Voice Choice Eats and their clever decision to “hang” the menus above the tables (with its recommended drink pairing), something that helped photographers, food writers and also attendees who knew what they were eating. 

I particularly liked the Pig’s Head Sandwich from Resto, a hard core pork sandwich squeezed in square slices of bread. Amazing was as well An Choi's Banh Chung – a sticky rice cake with pulled pork filling. I skipped Red Hook Lobster Pound longs lines (waiting patiently for a lobster roll otherwise price at $15)  as well as the popularity of Del Posto offering eggplant and chocolate. I tried the Cachapas (sweet corn crepes) filled with pork or chicken and tres leches, a distinctive combination of salty and sweet courtesy of Patacon Pisao. Nicky’s Vietnamese sandwiches were fresh, spicy and tasty and Egg’s country ham toast with pimento cheese was amazingly well made. General Greene’s Smoked Pork, Duck and Crawfish Boudin was exceptional and probably the most innovative in both presence and flavor dish of the evening.

Pig's Head sandwich
Smoked Pork, Duck and Crawfish Boudin

Egg’s country ham toast with pimento in preparation

On the drinks front, Belgian beers won all competitions with the 20-minute wait. I opted for the refreshing lassi drink offered by Curry-Ya, a nice choice after large portions of food. The finish was sweet though: VIPs only and Press were invited to the “Choice Sweets” lounge. Fatty Crab, Babycakes and Alice’s Tea Cup were offering their sugary treats amongst others. 

Caramel Popcorn

My only complain: I didn’t get my goodie bag as press wasn’t offered one. I don’t care so much for what was inside but I liked the nostalgic features of the external. Maybe next year.  

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Canaille Bistro

Canaille is a hidden bistro in Boerum Hill’s fifth Avenue. Enter and you open the door to a tiny and charming food heaven. Take a seat and one of the owners offers you the menu and the wine list; then with a sweet French accent announces the specials of the day. Me and my partner in this French cuisine adventure  had a quick look at the menu and decided to split an entree, the Marinieres Mussels. We topped our order with the Portobello Confit salad and the Warm Lentil salad. The wine choice was trickier and it took us some time but the 2008 Sancerre was the best choice. Dry and highly aromatic paired perfectly with the marinated seafood. I was stunned with the elegant flavors of the Portobello Mushroom  salad, a balanced mix of spinach, zucchini, walnuts and goat cheese dressed in a generous portion of balsamic vinegar. The Lentil salad was warm to perfection and the braised pork belly in port sauce was its finest addition. French fries, served in a paper basket, were both crispy and tasty.

Food is excellent at Canaille and its friendly and local ambiance coupled with the hospitality of the owners – a French couple –are two good reasons to return back. That time with new dishes and another bottle of wine.

Canaille, 78 5th Avenue (between St. Mark’s & Prospect Place) • Brooklyn, NY 11217 • (718) 789-8899

Friday, March 25, 2011

Choice Eats

The Village Voice’s Fourth Annual Choice Eats is back in town for the forth year.

Set amid the backdrop of the historic 69th Armory on Lexington Avenue, the famous building where the movement called Modern Art was first presented to the American public in 1913, this culinary festival will feature 50+ restaurants and food from over 35 nations, including Vietnamese, Italian, Uzbekistani, Brazilian, Cambodian, Russian, Tunisian, and Cajun/Creole among many others. Choice Eats stands out as a food event that highlights the hidden gems of New York City’s diverse culinary landscape.

Only guests ages 21 and over admitted.

Where: 68 Lexington Ave @ 26th Street, NYC
When: Monday, March 29th, 6.30pm to 9.30pm

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Taste the Journey of Air France's Gourmet Food Truck

Taste the Journey of Air France. Bringing the culinary delights of Air France to the streets of Manhattan, the Air France Gourmet Food Truck will serve special complimentary menu creations by Air France and Joel Robuchon. Follow the truck on it's journey through New York City from March 24th to March 28th.

Thursday March 24th
Broadway between 41st St. and 42nd St.
Breakfast – 8am-10am
Lunch - 12pm-2pm
Dinner - 4:30pm-6:30pm

Friday March 25th
5th Ave between 49th St. and 50th St.
Breakfast - 7:30am-9:30am
Lunch - 12pm-2pm
Dinner 4:30pm-6:30pm

Saturday March 26th
Park Ave and 15th St
Breakfast – 9am-11am
Lunch – 12pm-2:30pm
Dinner - 4:30pm-6:30pm

Sunday March 27th
Prince St. and Broadway
Breakfast – 10am-12pm
Lunch – 1pm-3pm
Dinner – 4pm-6pm

Monday March 28th
Wall Street between William and Hanover
Breakfast - 7:30am-9:30am
Lunch - 12pm-2pm
Dinner 4:30pm-6:30pm

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Prawn Lollilop and Gin infused Smoked Salmon

The Prawn Lollilop was one of the winners of the Seafood Excellence Awards (foodservice category) during the International Boston Seafood Show. This culinary innovation that comes from India and L' Essence Foods is an Indian pickled prawn coated with rice flakes served in a sugarcane stick, a real treat. Bite into the lollilop center for a delicious, juicy finish. Ideal as an appetizer for parties, this seafood on a stick will hopefully come in the USA.

The St James Smokehouse’s Reserved Smoked Salmon infused with Hendricks Scottish Gin and Tonic was awarded the Seafood Excellence Award in the retail category. This soft, balanced and smoky salmon was infused with Gin and Tonic that gave it a kick. And maybe a drunk-ish look!

Amongst the finalists were Maristella Fine Foods’ Arborio Rice Arancini Wild Caught Shrimp with All Natural Pesto, a cheeky combination of seafood and rice (which is not sushi) and Phillips Foods’Asiago and Artichoke Crab Flatbread, another novel specialty and equally tasty.

The Seafood Show was busy, with seafood for all tastes. I would add the significant presence of South America (think ceviche) and the dominant role of Asian countries. Fish is now imported in the USA from all over the world and it seems that most of it comes from China, Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Frozen fish is also a trend on both, local and international level. Small was the presence of breaded fish and seafood which is rather good news, at least for me. Virginia and Maine led the oyster business with Alaska being first in salmon together with Scotland. Rather defeated Louisiana was at the show –hopefully it will recover from the seafood industry crisis and be back on track. Other interesting notes: the plant-based caviar alike – a colorful note to the entire show. I also discovered Louisiana’s version of Remoulade, the reddish,  mustard-based sauce with a spicy note that reminded of my favorite sauce Andalouse. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Three myths to be busted about parties and invitations

Many think that in order to get invited to parties, events or weddings need to wear expensive clothes, to be surrounded by the rich and the famous and have an upgraded rolodex. In my recent book Get Invited, Don't Crash it, I interviewed numerous party goers and socialites but also those who don't go out so often. My results:

1.    You don’t need to be from a high society background or rich to ‘get invited’. 

      Parties are open to everybody. It doesn’t matter if you come from a small town or a big metropolis, you are a native speaker or if you have just relocated abroad. Event organizers need human beings to attend and invite people from all walks of life. So don’t worry about your background or your friends. Make sure to learn the tricks to be on the list, the rest is unnecessary information.
2.    Being sociable is not a prerequisite. Just be willing to be on the list and go out
There is a lot said about personality and how it affects our daily life. Being an open person or having an extroverted personality usually guarantees a number of invites in your mail box. But this is not panacea. Many others, with the unsociable etiquette on their shoulder, are also invited. I personally don’t believe in unsociable people. What I think though is that being sociable is something you can learn. Nobody was born a natural networker, party-goer or socialite but we all became one. Initially, willing to be invited is enough. Then the less socially adaptable, will have to work on their skills.
3.    You certainly don’t need to work in PR to ‘get invited’
People from all backgrounds are getting invited to special events and occasions every single day. Certainly, if you are a public relations specialist, a diplomat, an event or wedding planner, you will attend more parties and events or social gatherings than the average person. But this doesn’t mean that all others don’t go out. Party organizers need every single human being to fill their space so if you are a hairdresser, a teacher or a dancer, you are welcome to attend as well.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Roasted Red Beet and Savory Chocolate Cake Canapés

by guest blogger Jasmine Hibbitt

There is nothing more earthy then red beets and the same can be said for chocolate. To bring the two together seems perfectly natural. There is sweetness in the beets that compliments this chocolate cake which is not too sweet. The savory chocolate cake also goes excellent with soft cheeses, marmalades, or jams.


Savory Chocolate Cake
Serves 15
Preheat oven to 350 F

1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoon cinnamon 
2 teaspoon dried mustard
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cold water
¾ cup molasses
¼ cup sugar
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients.

In separate bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients.
*Trick: Pour oil into measuring cup and use the same cup for the molasses. The oil will prevent the molasses from sticking to the measuring cup and it will pour out easier.

Pour wet ingredients into dry and fold in with a spatula till combined.

Spread batter onto buttered pan to half inch in height.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Let cool on rack.

Roasted Beets
Serves 15
Oven at 450 F

2 medium beets, washed and peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup water

Place beets in deep roasting dish.

Rub with olive oil.

Pour in water.

Cover with aluminum foil.

Roast for 1 hour or until it can be pierced easily.

Let cool and slice ¼ inch thick.

Marinade for Beets

2 tablespoons olives oil
1 tablespoon balsamic
Salt and pepper

Sour cream
Fresh dill, washed

Cut slices of beets with a round cookie cutter approximately 1 inch wide.

Mix together marinade ingredients in bowl and place beet slices in. Let sit for at least 10 minutes *This can be done further in advance to let beets marinade longer.

Cut cake with same cookie cutter.

Place marinated beet on top of cake and add a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of salt, and a sprig of dill.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Nutropolitan Museum of Art

Peanuts are art! Visit the Nutropolitan Museum of Art on Sunday from 10 am to 4pm  and you will view the world's first PB&J Art Gallery.

Those of you who will stop by the gallery, they will  receive a Free jar of Peanut Butter & Co. peanut butter and the Nutropolitan Museum will donate a second jar to the Food Bank For New York City in your honor. Just by visiting you’re making a donation.

My love for peanuts forced me literary in this funky space. I got my free peanut butter jar and the donation in my name was made immediately. I admired the unique peanut butter sandwiches, this time in pictures. My favorite? The peanut butter sandwich made with crabs and seaweed. It probably tastes fab.

March is the National Peanut Month and there are  fun activities for everyone. Click here for more information: http://ilovepeanutbutter.com/nutropolitan

Visit the Nutropolitan Museum of Art at the Open House Gallery @ 201 Mulberry St.