Tag Archives: brunch

New York in Review: 10 Restaurants, 3 Days

Gentle Readers, a birds gotta fly, a fish has gotta swim, and The Practical Cook has to eat everything that’s not nailed down. During a recent journey to New York, a journey focused on eating, much ground was covered in 3 boroughs.

Smile if you like a 3-course dessert menu. (ChikaLicious: Chocolate Tart with Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream)

Smile if you like a 3-course dessert menu. (ChikaLicious: Chocolate Tart with Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream)

Here’s the list. Special thanks to Buttercup for tour directing and not stabbing me with a fork when I shot innumerable pictures.

Set your GPS to "Hipster" and head to Brooklyn Star in Williamsburg.

Set your GPS to “Hipster” and head to Brooklyn Star in Williamsburg.

10 NYC Restaurants, 3 Days

1. Joseph Leonard: Highlights include great atmosphere, pork permeation, but strong veggies. The Brussels sprouts dish, and the cauliflower, are still in memory. Split a cassoulet that fulfilled all of my omnivorous dreams.

The cassoulet from Joseph Leonard included pork 3 ways and a whole lot of delicious.

The cassoulet from Joseph Leonard included pork 3 ways and a whole lot of delicious.

2. ChikaLicious Dessert Bar: I’ll let the pictures speak here. Get something to wipe the drool from your screen. I’ll wait.

Cranberry Poundcake with Butternut Squash Ice Cream, Candied Pecans from ChikaLicious.

Cranberry Poundcake with Butternut Squash Ice Cream, Candied Pecans from ChikaLicious.

Final course from ChikaLicious: chocolate, coconut, caramel, the dessert trinity.

Final course from ChikaLicious: chocolate, coconut, caramel, the dessert trinity.

3. Taishu-Izakaya Kenka: The crazy menu and specific rules aside (there’s a fine for barfing), the salted cow tongue was the perfect random snack. It was so perfect in fact that I ate without shooting it. Oopsie. The gratin was like the south and Japan had an unfortunate food baby.

The Menu at Kenka, Viewer's Choice

The Menu at Kenka, Viewer’s Choice

Pumpkin Gratin with Floppy Bacon on Noodles from Kenka. Not a winner.

Pumpkin Gratin with Floppy Bacon on Noodles from Kenka. Not a winner.

4. Bouchon Bakery: I would walk on hot rocks to get to this blueberry muffin, and nearly had to, subbing in Hot Rockettes, who were performing at the time.

The Most Delicious Blueberry Muffin Ever from Bouchon

The Most Delicious Blueberry Muffin Ever from Bouchon

5. The Brooklyn Star: Fantastic brunch spot for hipsters in Williamsburg, these people take a swing at biscuits and actually connect. I would not put cheese on biscuits for sausage and gravy, but still great. The masa cakes with chorizo, in a word, nom.

Biscuits with gravy topped by eggs, with juice. And a beer. Because it's Brooklyn Star!

Biscuits with gravy topped by eggs, with juice. And a beer. Because it’s Brooklyn Star!

Masa cakes with black beans, eggs, and chorizo, I think I love you. Brooklyn Star.

Masa cakes with black beans, eggs, and chorizo, I think I love you. Brooklyn Star.

6. Num Pang Sandwich Shop: I want to eat here for every pre-dinner snack for the rest of my life. I loved the skirt steak bahn mi, until I tried the pulled pork with a touch of extra Sriricha. This will require retesting.

Skirt steak bahn mi from Num Pang. It is a beautiful cacophony of flavor and texture.

Skirt steak bahn mi from Num Pang. It is a beautiful cacophony of flavor and texture.

Pulled Pork Bahn Mi from Num Pang. It's like Cambodia meets the South plus Sriracha.

Pulled Pork Bahn Mi from Num Pang. It’s like Cambodia meets the South plus Sriracha.

7. Joe the Art of Coffee: This made the list because of the salted peanut butter cookie. It was essentially a big lump of peanut butter with some flour and butter making a passing acquaintance. Yes, please.

Salted peanut butter cookie with raspberry rugelach. Peanut butter jelly time!

Salted peanut butter cookie with raspberry rugelach. Peanut butter jelly time!

8. Forcella: Great pizza, I just coveted the one I didn’t order. I think there’s a grass is greener analogy here. But I digress. If the pumpkin pizza is on the menu, order it. Because it was dark and I was hungry, I also failed to shoot anything here properly. Apologies, guess I’ll have to go back. (Thinly-veiled excuses, party of one!)

9. Olea: Order the merguez and almond-stuffed bacon-wrapped dates as sides, and then split some other dishes. The green eggs are a pass. The dates are not optional. Seriously. The almonds aren’t just paste, but chunks. Run, don’t walk. All found in my old hood, Fort Greene. I have missed you Brooklyn.

Bacon-wrapped almond-stuffed dates at Olea in Fort Greene. Worth the trip.

Bacon-wrapped almond-stuffed dates at Olea in Fort Greene. Worth the trip.

A good merguez is hard to find. This is that merguez. Olea in Fort Greene.

A good merguez is hard to find. This is that merguez. Olea in Fort Greene.

10. Roti Boti Restaurant: When I die, if I’m taking a taxi, I’m asking for a stop here en route. For real, this is the land up in Queens where you either live there or drive a cab, and it took planes, trains, AND turning on “location services” to find this pot of gold. Order anything you like plus bread. Die happy.

The largest, fluffiest naan I've ever seen. You can ignore the adage to not fill up on bread at Roti Boti.

The largest, fluffiest naan I’ve ever seen. You can ignore the adage to not fill up on bread at Roti Boti.

Half of the dishes at Roti Boti. Get the chicken tikka masala, but risk never wanting it anywhere else again.

Half of the dishes at Roti Boti. Get the chicken tikka masala, but risk never wanting it anywhere else again.

BONUS, Not Food But Still Awesome, The Parlor: Located in the back of a barber shop (naturally), I drank caffeine for the cause, though tempered with milk. This was one fine latte.

One shot latte from The Parlor. It was dreamy.

One shot latte from The Parlor. It was dreamy.

 

Who wouldn't want an espresso with their fauxhawk?

Who wouldn’t want an espresso with their fauxhawk?

SECOND BONUS: Doughnuts, Peter Pan Bakery: Pitched as one of the best doughnuts ever, I’ll admit that walking around  Brooklyn eating it, I did have a moment. As a Krispy Kreme girl, that’s saying a lot for the cake-style. I would hold the Apple Cider doughnut from the Carrboro Farmer’s Market up against it. I plan on hosting a taste showdown at some point in the future. But when someone says, do you want to split a doughnut (immediately after brunch mind you, and en route to more food), the answer is “yes, please.”

Peter Pan Donut & Pastry: Because I could not stop long enough to photograph the actual doughnut.

Peter Pan Donut & Pastry: Because I could not stop long enough to photograph the actual doughnut.

What’s your favorite hidden spot in New York? Post a comment below, tweet my way, join the conversation! You name it, and if it won’t kill me, I’ll eat it. 🙂

Send your Metro cards, actual questions, and food challenges to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)

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Coming up Sunday, Weekly Menus or How Not to Eat Turkey.

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3 Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day

Gentle readers, for those of you who haven’t pre-ordered jewelry, flowers, or made brunch reservations somewhere, guess what, it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow. The Practical Cook is now at the delicate age where she both is and has a mother. Being a mother has driven me to call my mother and apologize. A lot.

So this list is about both giving and receiving. My kids are a gift, and become ever more amazing independent people every day. They are also loud people. With that in mind, 3 ways to celebrate Mother’s Day:

1. Let her sleep. Though everyone loves brunch or breakfast in bed, a working mama (and that’s every mama) is a tired mama. Sometimes the greatest gift of all is just sleeping in. Pour some cereal for the kids and relax. Need help with cereal? Relax, thanks to the request of one loyal viewer, we’ve got you covered.

2. Make in advance. Perfect for those who need to give and receive, and still want to sleep. From esteemed fellow blogger, Momsicle, a selection of make-ahead recipes, including a frittata from my friend My Convertible Life. Great idea! I would also include the Rustic Tart in this category. Swap in some breakfast sausage and serve with fruit, and you’ve got brunch.

Vosges Chocolate Bars

Vosges Chocolate Bars

3. Chocolate, wine, coffee, noshables. If you’re going last minute, or you want to add a little something to the mix, go for the classics. Moms spend a lot of time doing for others, and the creature comforts of and from the kitchen are sometimes lost. I’m very fond of the Vosges chocolate bars for any of my offspring who might be reading this.

The Practical Cook will be celebrating by giving The Practical Cook’s Mom some quality time with the grandchildren. Some call it babysitting, but I prefer to think of it as bonding time. You’re welcome Mom! (And thank you for being the inspiration behind all that I do in the kitchen. And sorry for, well, all of the years ending in -teen.)

Would love to hear from everyone out there. How do you like to celebrate Mother’s Day?

Share your mom-centric ideas and stories (and top-secret recipes). Send me a line at practical cook at gmail dot com. Or post a comment here, or connect on Facebook (The Practical Cook Blog: Thanks to all who have liked, I need 25 “likes” to get the official page name. Please “like” on Facebook today!)

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Tune in tomorrow for Weekly Menus. Because even though it’s my special special day, the groceries won’t buy themselves.

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