Normally I would write about the first appearance of asparagus, but since I developed an allergy to it (I break out into hives when I eat asparagus) I can’t bear to feature it here. Instead I’ll write about something more unusual, but still a harbinger of spring: stinging nettles. I’ve written about them before, but I picked those up at the Union Square market. Finding them here in Brooklyn is a bonus for me. Just make sure you heed the signs — you can be pricked by the nettles if you handle them incorrectly. Be sure you blanch them in boiling water fora short time before consuming, otherwise they’ll sting the inside of your throat.
On Tuesday we attended the first ever Village Voice Choice Streets festival. Street food vendors were lined up alongside the U.S.S. Intrepid, making for a dramatic setting. The food was good and we had a lot of fun, but the best part was being able to get aboard the aircraft carrier itself. Here’s a view of the festival from the Intrepid:
Is it possible for a Jewish kid from Virginia to be nostalgic for Korean food? Dok Suni was one of the first reviews I wrote on this site, a mere four years ago. It was one of my first experiences with Korean food, and it was one of my first restaurant crushes here in NYC. After I moved out of the East Village I stopped going as frequently. And of course there are many more Korean restaurants here, many of them better, many of them more traditional — but still, in my heart I have a soft spot for Dok Suni. I was recently in the East Village with my friend Jess looking for a place to eat when I spotted Dok Suni and suggested it. Jess had never been there but loves Korean food, so we ended up having a late dinner there. How did it measure up to my memories?
I love soft shell crab and hate regular crab. It takes too much work for that little bit of meat so if I can eat the whole thing, I’m going to like it more. Yes, I’m lazy. It is also the reason why I don’t like eating that shrimp dish where they simply boil the shrimp. And you have to peel the shrimp and dip it in soy sauce. Too much work. Though I love the salt and pepper shrimp. Deep fried goodness that I can just eat it with shell and all.
This dish was quite simple to make. Three main ingredients. Crab, kale and spring garlic. In a pan I sauteed the kale and spring garlic with a dash of red chili flakes (and salt and pepper to taste). While the veggies were cooking, I seasoned some flour, dunked the crab in the beaten egg and drenched it in the flour. In another pan, on high heat, I added oil and a knob of butter. I fried the crab in the oil and butter mixture til golden on both sides. For an extra kick, I sprinkled more red chili flakes onto the dish.
So on a lovely Saturday afternoon with the food TED talks playing in the background on the Netflix, I made a bunch of flatbreads (I ended eating all of them). This was inspired by watching Jamie Oliver’s TED talk from 2 years ago.
Few months ago I saw a clip of Jamie Oliver and Levi Roots making jerk chicken. Jamie Oliver made a simple flatbread to go with the jerk chicken. It looked so easy that I actually thought about making it. Of course I didn’t actually make it till just few days ago. So here’s the thing, for my flatbreads I used regular old all purpose flour and instead of yogurt (in the recipe) I used buttermilk since that was what I had. And instead of jalapenos I sliced up some pickled serrano peppers. Okay, even though I TOTALLY didn’t use the same ingredients, it came out pretty darn good. Especially with a fried egg on top.
On a recent trip to Astoria I passed by several bakeries advertising something called sfinge, so I just had to pick one up to take home. I decided on La Guli bakery, both because it was on my walk back to the train and because it looked suitably old school. It turns out a sfinge is basically an open-faced cannoli. Instead of being stuffed into a tube the ricotta mixture, dotted with chocolate chips and candied fruit, is loaded on top of a crispy shell; since it’s not enclosed the cream can be piled pretty high. It’s good, but the abundance actually detracts somewhat from the experience. With a traditional cannoli you’re left wanting more. Here, you’re left feeling that you’ve over-indulged.
La Guli Bakery — 29-15 Ditmars Blvd, Queens
After eating at SriPraPhai in Woodside, Queens, my next Queens stop was……….the Butcher Bar. I was pretty excited to try this place and had made plans with friends to try it. Seeing all those delicious looking photos, I had my mind set on the PBLT sandwich and some double smoked burnt ends. Though just a few hours before heading out to Astoria, the INTERNET spoke and said that I should go to John Brown Smokehouse instead. Being a cheap aZZ, the cheaper price at John Brown Smokehouse quickly won my over.