I have a new job. It involves food: taking pictures of it and designing around it mostly. But I had a special request from the powers that be: Could I escort a bunch of out-of-town chefs to restaurants in Brooklyn for a day?
Do I get to dine with them? Yes.
Do I get a fancy car to take me around? Yes.
Do I get to have wine with lunch/dinner/dessert? Yes.
Do I have a problem with this? No.
What follows are a few highlights from some of the wonderful restaurants we visited, and would visit again. So should you. That's the whole point of this post.
1. The aforementioned fancy vehicle.
2. Pretty wrappings from Mast Brothers Chocolate where we picked up some samples and 4 boxed of truffles. You should check out their new expanded digs if you haven't already.
3. Potlikker: a new favorite of mine. Chef Stephanie prepared everything herself. HERSELF. It was a one woman band. I was only slightly disappointed she wasn't playing a harmonica while she prepared our food. But I guess you could say she was playing the spoons...
4. Kitchy, standing outdoor menu at Potlikker
5. The Gnocchi Semolina Cake with Taleggio Cheese and Fava Beans. Standing ovation, people. Standing.
6. Duck Confit Croquettes. These little gems sat upon a most delicate salad of greens and beats and were finished with a mustard dressing.
7. Dutch Apple Pancake with Fried Oysters and Goat Cheese. Appropriately gooey, fluffy, and crunchy. This giant beast hit all the textural and taste spots.
8. More pretty Mast Bros. packaging.
Next up was Talde. The staff could not have been more accomodating here. They brought us a plethora of tasty dishes...
1. Their fun Asian-patterned plates are plastic. I loved that.
2. Perilla Leaf with Toasted Shrimp and Bacon-Tamarind Caramel Peanuts. Seriously?? These were bite-sized leafy nuggets of taste explosion.
3. The Most Fabulous Kale Salad I've Ever Had. For serious. Fresh and crispy kale was mixed together with pickeled almonds, dried cherries and topped with a slightly creamy miso dressing.
4. The Chow Fun. Oh, and it was fun alright. That circular shape in the middle are wrapped rice noodles. You break them up and mix it with the greens, pork and sauce...this could not be more fun.
5. Crispy Fluke with Cilantro. I wanted to eat the whole thing. There are two problems on a food tour like this: you are sharing, AND you can't eat the whole thing or you won't have room for the meals at the next place. But I would have eaten the whole thing: crispy, sweet and tangy, this fish was perfectly flaky and downright spectacular.
6. The Most Insanely Ridiculous Dessert. I'm still not sure what this was. But it was really good. Better than I thought, because the description of coconut milk, tapioca, grapefruit and Captain Crunch cereal had me skeptical at best. Another mixer (as you can see), it produced a muddle of interesting flavors and textures that had me poking my spoon back in the bowl.
At this point, things started to get fuzzy. And it was getting dark, so I couldn't take as many photos (I don't like using my flash in a restaurant). However, I'll highlight a few more:
1. Franny's Pizza Bianco with olive oil. This dough has it going on. It was the last stop on our tour and I kept reaching for more bread. They also provided us with a stand-out meat platter that included lardo (!!) and some of the best house made chocolate sorbet (smooth and almost creamy) and limoncello (not too sweet), I've tasted to date.
2. Cardamaro: Read about it here. We obtained this bottle and a few others at Buttermilk Channel. Another wonderful spot, where it was, alas, too dark for photos...
3. I did manage this one of their Ricotta and Leek Flat bread. Buttermilk's version of the pizza, the shining star of this dish is the home made ricotta that is so wonderfully creamy, it's almost like eating ice cream. With a hint of lemon, it manages to be refreshing as well.
As the weekend is upon us, I urge you to go check out these fine establishments and order up some (or all) of these dishes. If you need company, give me a shout. But I'm not sharing this time.