Events, New York City Eats

A Ferry, A Bus, a subway ride for a cup of coffee

The latest best adaption from the West Coast is not just any cup of coffee but Blue Bottle coffee in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Blue Bottle Coffee Bar & Roaster opened a New York City location in Spring 2010.  Originated from San Francisco and established their business from the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s market.  I had revolved our day trip with the mission of getting a cup of drip brewed from Blue Bottle Coffee with the company of my hot yoga and food enthusiast friend, Cynthia Wang.

10.16.2010 (11:00am) : Cynthia and I met at the the Hester Street Fair for the New York Magazine Grub Street Food Festival. Located in the Lower East Side, this very jam packed event celebrated local New York City chefs, restaurants and small food business around the 5 boroughs.  With over 30 food vendors from Brooklyn, Kickstand Coffee & Pies n’ Thighs to Lower East Side, Pain D’ Avignon & An Choi.  So many mouth watering choices.  What caught our eyes and appetite was first Nijiya Market presenting The Rook, a Japanese gourmet catering serving taiyaki, a Japanese pancake traditionally with red bean paste ($3).  The Rook was serving unusual fillings this included: cheese & olive oil and red bean & cream cheese.  They were pouring the pancake batter over a beautiful cast iron fish mold and in few minutes added fillings to a batch with sausage & cheese in which is what we had.  It’s definitely a children’s favorite and a nostalgic treat for adults.

One of the best things eaten at the Grub Street Food Festival, Cynthia and I agree is Il Buco’s Panna Cotta with aged balsamic vinegarette (for only $1)  Panna cotta is essentially a pudding in Italian with cream, milk, sugar and gelatin.  Il Buco’s panna cotta was creamy in texture and the balsamic vinegarette, the tart and tangy contrast nicely with the semi-sweetness of the panna cotta.  I can eat several of these.  There were plenty of samples  around like  bacon marmalade from literally they stand by their name and call themselves Bacon Marmalade to An Choi’s pickled pigs ears which was deliciously seasoned.  While coming in we spotted these beautiful handmade twisted pretzel from Sigmund Pretzelshop.   Cynthia and I shared a truffle oil cheddar cheese pretzel ($3) with homemade mustard seed and beet sauce on the side.  As beautiful as the pretzels looked, the pretzels were absolutely fresh, the mustard sauce out shined the pretzel.

Finally, we settled for Purple Yam for lunch.  Long lines for this particular food vendor is always a sign of good food.  Purple Yam a Filipino  restaurant in Brooklyn was serving a Filipino kind of soul food, chicken and ribs in a signature apple vinegar marinade and sauce over what more appropriate than purple rice ($5).  The Philippines known for their roasted pig, Lechon without a doubt the ribs was juicy and tender and the chicken meat both deboned nicely without any mess.  Purple Yam was also serving a pork belly in steamed bun ($4) which the pork again is equally as delicious as David Chang’s pork buns from Momofuku Ssams Bar.

12:30pm: With our tummy filled we made our way to Pier 11 to catch a ferry ride to Red Hook, Brooklyn.  Free, courtesy of Ikea.  Before the ferry ride, we made a beverage detour at a Chinese cafe on Allen Street.  Cynthia was struck by the idea of boiled Coca Cola with ginger and lemon she decided to have one.  Apparently, hot Coca Cola with ginger and lemon is a remedy for preventing a cold or to fight a cold, FYI.

We caught the 1pm ferry and arrived to Added-Value, a Redhook Farm for their Halloween Harvest with fresh produce for sale all locally grown in Redhook,  apples from Red Jacket Orchard, pumpkin picking, and a live band of blues.

2:00pm: We then took the free shuttle bus (courtesy of Ikea) to Smith & 9th Street to take the G train to make our way to Fort Greene, Brooklyn to do a little vintage goods browsing at the Brooklyn Flea. This outdoor flea market is one of the best in the city with many inspirational objects dated back to early 1900s.  It’s a treasure for anyone who is looking to remodel their apartment to artist who needs some inspirational references or if you’re a little nostalgic a  gift for someone to a treat for yourself.

4:45 pm: Our final destination, Blue Bottle Coffee Bar & Roaster in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Located on 160 Berry Street, you can smell the coffee beans roast from a block away and this is a fact!  The space used to be a garage and probably a warehouse of some sort but the interior space with only three bar seats and a standing counter top is elegant and edgy.  Blue Bottle is not your typical coffee shop with big arm chairs and puffy couches, it is meant for a quick and snappy experience but you are of course more than welcome to stay to relax, most likely standing or if you’re lucky sit by the bar and be mesmerized as the barista pulls an espresso shot.  There is a beautiful Siphon coffee brewed method on display and further back is an amazing space where Blue Bottle roast their own coffee on-site!  The menu is very straightforward and as much as I wanted a latte or everything, I can only tolerate one cup of coffee during late afternoon.  I chose the drip brewed coffee house blend ($2.75).  The coffee is prepared individually from precise and accurate measurement in grams of coffee beans to grind and ratio to temperature of hot boiling water and is poured over the coffee grind and patiently drips through a Blue Bottle filter.   An individually cup of brewed coffee roughly took less than 60 seconds.  The aroma was fresh and the first sip was intensely bold and an instant awakening.  Making Blue Bottle a worth while outer borough coffee destination.

See my slide show, an adventurous day trip  from Lower East Side to Red Hook to Fort Greene to Williamsburg and back to Lower East Side in all in 8 hours.  Take this itinerary, just wear comfortable shoes.

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Added- Value/// 370 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231

Blue Bottle Coffee /// 160 Berry Street Brooklyn NY

Brooklyn Flea/// 176 Lafayette Ave (btw. Clermont + Vanderbilt Ave.) Brooklyn, NY 11238

Hester Street Fair /// Hester St New York, NY 10002

New York City Eats

Opah! [Yay in Greek] Weekly eats at the New Amsterdam Market: Fleisher’s, Jimmy’s, Orwasher

It has been awhile since I have eaten from a food truck.  Since most food truck I have had in the past always seems to disappoint me.  Finally, Souvlaki Gr a food truck I will go back to again and again and even take the action to hunt down in where they are located.  Parked on the corner of 21st and 6th ave outside of the latest Trader Joe’s at 10pm on a Wednesday with Greek music blaring you cannot miss it.  Souvlaki is a popular Greek street food and essentially is a seasoned, tender grilled meats (chicken, pork, or beef).  Souvlaki Gr has a very straightforward menu,  with options on a stick, on a pita, or a burger.  I went with a Chicken Souvlaki Pita ($3.50) with onion, tomatoes, tzatziki sauce and best surprise is the french fries in the pita.  I like my meats and potatoes especially after hot yoga.  The pita was soft and warm rolled up into a twist stuffed with a good proportion of chickens, onions, tomatoes and french fries.  Not too much to the point where it is messy but enough to satisfy your hunger.  The tzatziki sauce is a light yogurt taste with a creamy texture.  I think I am a sucker for all kinds of street foods from any ethnic culture and Souvlaki Gr is added onto my list.

Jimmy’s No.43 Lamb Stew

It’s an endless adventure  week after week there is an intriguing vendor at the New Amsterdam Market. In my fifth weekly eats at the New Amsterdam Market edition, from Kingston, NY is Fleisher’s Grassfed & Organic Meats. To the Julie Powell fans out there may be familiar with Fleisher’s Grassfed Meats from her post- Julie & Julia blog, novel to movie phenomenon.   Julie Powell’s latest novel Cleaving is based on her butchering lessons from Fleisher’s Grassfed Meats.  This is not why Fleisher’s Grassfed Meats is popularly known and well-respected.   The omnivore dilemma taken into effect as early as the Industrial Revolution only in recent years media has taken this issue into concern where a lot of meats are factory processed and animals are mistreated with antibiotics and hormones causing many, nation wide with chronic illness and obesity.  Fleisher’s Grassfed Meats is in the mission and on the food movement convincing carnivores and vegetarians alike to taste this difference, where they source their meats, cows, chickens, pigs, and lambs free-range, organic and from local farms to provide nutritional, healthy eating experience with ethical practice. Brought from Kingston, NY at the market there were bacon, sausages and chops all in sous-vide-esque, air tight sealed in plastic bag to maintain the freshness and flavor of the ingredients.  I was recommended to have the bacon which Fleisher’s take pride in and their beef -lamb sausage.  The third generation owner Josh Applestone went from vegan to owner of a butcher shop, I think Fleisher’s has convinced me to put aside my differences in the no beef diet at the moment and savor the goodness.

Along with the meats, I stocked up on half a loaf of cabernet rustica from Orwasher’s Bakery. With a retail bakery located on Upper East Side, Orwasher’s Bakery sells artisanal rustic bread and it is delicious to pair with a dab of extra virgin olive oil, some hearty soup or my personal favorite toasted with melted mozzarella cheese.  In addition, I purchased freshly picked scallion from Queens County Farm as a garnish for my soba noodles and a bundle of carrots from Do Re Me Farm for my carrot juice.

For lunch, I heard great reviews on Jimmy’s No. 43 Braised Beef Brisket on Brioche but I have yet to try.  Instead Jimmy’s No.43 is serving this week the lamb stew with zucchini and locally used ingredient Cayuga Farm white beans($5).  The variety of ingredients are complex and pairs well all together.  The flavors are good though the stew could have been more soupy to give the heartiness of a stew.


Souvlaki Gr/// check website

New Amsterdam Market/// South Street between Beekman Street and Peck Slip, New York NY 10271 – near the old Fulton Fish Market.  (Every Sunday 11-4pm, next market is Sunday Oct 17, 2010)

Fleisher’s Grassfed & Organic Meats/// 307 Wall Street, Kingston, NY 12401

Orwasher’s Bakery/// 308 East 78th Street New York, NY 10075

Queens County Farm/// 73-50 Little Neck Parkway Floral Park, New York 11004

Do Re Me Farm /// 342 Maple Avenue New Hampton, NY 10958

New York City Eats

Weekly Eats at the New Amsterdam Market: Butternut Squash Soup, Kombucha, and Ricotta

Butternut Squash Soup from Table Tales at New Amsterdam Market

If you’re looking for something seasonal and local you’ll most definitely find it at the New Amsterdam Market.  At it’s peak are root vegetables and my ultimate favorite of the Fall season is Butternut Squash.  Table Tales, a catering company with a cafe in Lower Manhattan is a weekly vendor at the New Amsterdam Market.  They do free sample of their amazing meaty pasta sauce on artisanal bread weekly and sell the pasta sauce by the jar to recreate the magic in your home kitchen.  This week, cleverly Table Tales kicks off the more autumn like weather with a Butternut Squash Soup ($5) for a 12oz pint size.   The butternut squash soup comes with a mini toast which gives a nice presentation.  The flavor is pure butternut squash puree to a nice thick, consistent, creamy texture.  I believe vegetable stocks were used oppose to chicken stock but be sure to ask, for vegetarians out there.  Table Tales butternut squash soup is overall spoon licking good and is a delicious complement to my Porchetta sandwich from Porchetta.  Yep, it’s my second Porchetta in the last 3 weeks.  It’s so worth the 9 mile run afterward.

Later I had a freshly brewed draft kombucha from Kombucha Brooklyn.  If you never had a kombucha or heard of a kom-bu-wha?  It is the latest healthy beverage craze.  A kombucha is essentially a brewed fermented tea but fizzles and it is stocked at supermarkets like Whole Foods with different brands.  A mainstream kombucha brand is Synergy in which the pretty assorted CMYK color drink can really fool you.  When I had my first Synergy Kombucha, little did I expect the beverage to be 1.) carbonated, 2.) the intense scent of vinegar, 3.) Holy crap : IT’s ALIVE!   Anyhow that was the first and last time I’ll ever have a kombucha I thought to myself, or at least a Synergy kombucha.  Until I tasted Kombucha Brooklyn.  Few weeks back I sampled a concord grape flavored Kombucha Brooklyn and it was good!  So the vendor recommended the Dry-hop Kombucha Brooklyn ($3 per cup) which the name is derived from the essence of dry beer (alcohol free).  Personally, I like dry Japanese Beer and indeed the Dry-hop Kombucha Brooklyn had a similar quality.  No vinegar taste that lingers in your breath or more annoyingly in your hand because it is brewed fresh locally in Brooklyn.  If you never had a Kombucha before try Kombucha Brooklyn and not some manufactured Synergy.  Kombucha is said to be highly good for you as a remedy to cure or prevent cancerous related disease and very beneficial to regulate menstrual cycles.

To wrap up my weekly eats at the New Amsterdam Market experience, there is nothing more heavenly than cheese.  There are several cheesemonger vendors with this week from Providence, Rhode Island, Narragansett Creamery.  I bought a ball of fresh mozzarella cheese ($5) in which I have yet to try but I have a good instinct it’s going to be love.  At the market the Narragansett Creamery vendors were diligently giving free samples and one of the many included their award winning 1st prized World’s best ricotta cheese and there was a blue ribbon to prove it but foremost the taste itself really proved the deserving award.  The ricotta cheese was paired with a burst of concord grape which initially I thought was an unusual pair but it made a lot of sense.  Cheese, wine and grapes anyone?  The creaminess of the ricotta cheese was rich.  With the complement to the concord grapes, the ricotta cheese had a light yogurt flavor.  I’m looking forward to unwrapping the the ball of fresh mozzarella cheese in which I can assure it will be a bundle of joy.


New Amsterdam Market/// South Street between Beekman Street and Peck Slip, New York NY 10271 – near the old Fulton Fish Market.  (Every Sunday 11-4pm, next market is Sunday Oct 10, 2010)

Table Tales /// 265 Water St  New York, NY 10038

Kombucha Brooklyn /// Based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Narrangansett Creamery /// Dearborn Street, Providence, RI, 02909