Daily Archives: July 11, 2011

Buttermilk Channel: 524 Court Street. Brooklyn, NY

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Ah Buttermilk Channel. I’ve been meaning to visit you for SO long. Ever since I read the rave reviews in countless magazines and blogs and then found out that an old friend who I grew up going to summer camp with is the owner, I’ve been meaning to get there. It took me way too long to finally go and when the 3rd annual random friends brunch came around (a little party I throw every year where I post an open invite on my facebook wall and the first 10 to respond join me in the fun) I thought this was the perfect pick.

When we arrived, we were immediately greeted by Doug’s (the owner) awesome wife and drink orders were taken while they got our table ready. My spicy bloody mary, complete with a homemade pickle spear, hit the spot. I LOVE horseradish, and this drink was bold and flavorful with a serious kick to it. The pickle was a cute, creative touch, so much more interesting than the typical piece of celery.

When we were seated, Doug was kind enough to send over some snacks to munch on while we drank, got acquainted, and looked over the menu. As you can see by my first picture, we were hungry. We chowed down on the treats way too quickly for me to remember to snap a picture. What you see there are the remnants of homemade pickles, walnut coffee cake and these incredible maple, bacon almonds that I seriously would have eaten all of if I wasn’t supposed to share with the others. Deeeeelicious.

The menu is a bit quirky, totally comfort-food oriented, and what I’d call down-home-creative. The big hit at the table were the pork chops over cheddar waffles, but everyone enjoyed their own meals as well. I shared the mushroom, spinach, goat cheese scramble and the pecan french toast. The scramble was awesome, especially the many different kinds of mushrooms, and I really enjoyed it. The salad and toast that came with it rounded out the meal nicely, but the little potato pancake was a bit on the greasy side for my taste. Very crunchy and hot though, and I’d imagine that people who didn’t grow up in Jewish families who make outstanding potato latkes would probably have loved it. The pecan pie french toast has been talked about on almost every review I’ve read so I felt like we had to try it. It was VERY sweet, made with fresh, delicious, thick-cut bread and served with a scoop of fluffy whipped cream or marscapone, or maybe whipped ricotta (oops, I forgot to ask) and covered with bourbon, molasses pecans. This dish WAS delicious, but I would really put it into a dessert category instead of a main course. I happen to have a pretty serious sweet tooth, and this was even a little too much for me.

The overall vibe of Buttermilk Channel couldn’t be more perfect. Hip, without being at all pretentious. Trendy, but also very chill. Relaxed, comfortable, warm, and the kind of place that locals must adore meeting at every Sunday. It’s a bit off the beaten path for me- over an hour to get there, but even so, I will probably be back. Many thanks to Doug for making this event super special, taking such good care of us, and welcoming us into his second home.

 

*photos courtesy of Gabriel Sanders. http://www.magicsandbox.com/enter/Magic_Sandbox.html

Caputo’s Bake Shop: 329 Court St. Brooklyn, NY

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I believe my exact words after taking my first bite of this rainbow cake were, “Oh, holy shit!”.

I am a rainbow cake connoisseur. I do not kid around about these little cakes. I have been eating these since I was a wee one, and I take them very seriously. I have been on a continual quest to find the best ones in the world, and pretty much anytime I see them (as long as they don’t have <shudder> sprinkles on them) I have to buy one.

When G and I stumbled onto Caputo’s by chance, I recalled being told about it by a trusted friend of mine and knew that we must go in to sample my beloved pastries. I can emphatically and triumphantly declare that this happenstance was sent from the rainbow cake gods to me, with love. This is my new favorite. Yes, I know that is a bold statement, but I also know that not everyone uses real marzipan in between 2 of the layers, fresh jam and the most wonderfully almondy, moist, 3 colors of cake you could imagine. Wrap all of this up in high quality, dark chocolate and yes, you have true rainbow cake perfection.

Yes, there was another cookie. It WAS also delicious but c’mon, let’s acknowledge the facts. The rainbow cake made me say holy shit.

 

*photos courtesy of Gabriel Sanders. http://www.magicsandbox.com/enter/Magic_Sandbox.html

EATS on Lexington: 1055 Lexington Ave. NY, NY

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Another ‘Scoop St.’ deal bought, and this one was a real winner! This is in a location that had been empty for a long time and I’d walked past a few times since it opened a couple of months ago. It’s right near the 77th st. subway which makes it a super convenient meeting spot. Although we had reservations, it was fairly quiet for a Saturday night and we got the best table in the place with no problem. I suppose that opening a restaurant on the Upper East Side (where a lot of the locals vanish to the Hamptons) in the middle of the summer makes it very tough to gain a new following, and they were really smart to use Scoop St. to try to bring new people in.

I have to take a second to rave about our server. Laisla (I’m probably spelling that wrong) was truly outstanding and seriously enhanced our experience. She clearly likes working here and had no problem getting genuinely excited telling us about her favorite dishes. Super friendly and charismatic, even if the food HADN’T been great, I’d almost consider going back just to be entertained by her again…but the bonus is, the food WAS great!

We had a deal where we got a martini, a burger, fries, and 6 oysters each for $22. SCORE. (normally double that price) The oysters were our choice of 2 east coast selections and they were freshly shucked and fantastic. The only thing I didn’t love was that each one sat on a bed of salt instead of the usual bed of ice. This added a salty slurp to each one that was unnecessary and a bit overpowering. The burger was AWESOME with caramelized onions and american cheese. I would have liked some other fancier cheese options- maybe gruyere or blue, but it was really excellent just the way it was…except maybe a little closer to medium-well than the medium I’d ordered. The fries, which were perfectly crispy when they came out well-done as requested, were impossible to not finish. The martini pretty much got me drunkity drunk drunk after 3 sips and the extra olives were super enjoyable once they’d soaked up the vodka.

The only disappoint was our dessert, the homemade marshmallow s’mores. Although the marshmallow looked beautiful, it was not hot and melty. The chocolate component was really more of a liquidy sauce than a melted chocolate bar. The one piece of graham cracker was store-bought, not made fresh. I would have been happier with a hershey bar and jet puffs…In her defense though, Laisla had not recommended this one- she gushed about the tres leches cheesecake, and had we not already been stuffed, we would have listened to her. Next time Laisla, next time.

 

*photos courtesy of Gabriel Sanders. http://www.magicsandbox.com/enter/Magic_Sandbox.html

Maui Tacos: 330 5th ave. NY NY

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This was a pretty good choice for a snack for my boyfriend and I in a touristy, crowded area. It was empty, air conditioned, and relatively cheap, which at the time was pretty much enough to make me happy. When we saw the salsa bar with tons of choices (including a pineapple one that I especially liked) AND fresh cilantro (my favorite herb) I was sold. I ordered the marinated fish tacos and I have to say, they were better than I expected. This is a order-at-the-counter place, but it was a nice touch that they actually bring your tray of food over when it’s ready. I went over to the salsa bar and enjoyed filling many little cups with the various sauces and toppings. The white fish was grilled, not fried and shared the soft taco shell with fresh cabbage, cilantro and a mayo-y sauce that I could have gone without. It sat on top of some soggy yellow rice (not worth it) and black beans (a little salty but okay). This ended up being a lot more filling than a little snack, and was actually a pretty decent lunch. If I’m in the area, I ‘d probably return there.

 

*photos courtesy of Gabriel Sanders. http://www.magicsandbox.com/enter/Magic_Sandbox.html