Category Archives: Brooklyn


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Filed under Brooklyn, New York, New York City, Side Dish, Transit

Red Hook style corn

Red Hook style corn, originally uploaded by Brockenbrough Photos.

The Red Hook food vendors that gather around the soccer fields there on weekends used to serve this corn. The sauce – what gives this corn that extra little kick – is a mixture of mayonaisse (several spoonfuls for 2 ears), paprika (about 1 or 2 tablespoons depending on how hot you want the sauce) and cilantro (chop into thin ribbons about 1 handful for every 2 ears).

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Filed under Brooklyn, Cooking, Food, Recipes, Side Dish

Letter Grades for NYC Restaurants – Saute Wednesday

As the Grey Lady (a.k.a., The New York Times) deftly points out, “by the end of (today), several restaurant windows in New York are quite likely to display . . .  a brilliantly colored placard bearding a letter grade.”  Grades for restaurants in NYC are about to be posted.  However, the vast majority of grades – particularly those with Bs and Cs – are not likely to be posted until the end of August.  So what exactly does all this mean?  How are these letter grades different from the infraction points the Department of Health used to post on their website?

First of all the main difference seems to be in visibility.  On the front page of the NYT, there is an article about corruption in the Russian police forces and how endemic it is.  One senior official, in response to a series of claims by Alex Dymovsky against corruption in the forces, responds that “the system is . . .  very transparent.”  The same is the goal with the new letter grade system – transparency.  Previously, restaurant ratings could only be found on the health department’s website.  Where exactly?  Well… here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/rii/index.shtml Now, how many of you have honestly gone there to check a restaurant’s rating?  Right, very few.

Now, with the postings as visible as the Zagat’s/TONY/New York Magazine etc. reviews typically posted boastfully in the restaurant windows, the average person strolling down the street trying to find a good place to eat can know the cleanliness reputation.

How are these letter grades different from the previous system?  Well, according to the Times article, “the department (of health) removed many inspection categories from the scoring process”.  In other words, things like administrative errors – failure to post choking signs, failure to post “employees must wash hands”, etc. – are not factored into the grades.  Additionally, if a restaurant appeals a letter grade they received, their sign would read “grade pending”.  It is unclear how long the appeal process would be.

In terms of a one-to-one match up of the old inspection scores to the new letter grades, note the following.  An inspection score of 0-13 is an A, 14-27 points is a B, and 28 or more points is a C.  There are no grades given below a C.  These grade cards must then be posted in an area easily visible to passersby.  Each card is embossed with the department of health’s seal and has a unique serial number.

So what will be the outcome of this change to a grading system?  Right now the effect is unclear.  Restaurants receiving a grade lower than an A will automatically be reinspected before their grade is posted.  This may mean that those restaurants clean up their act in the meantime.  However, what does it mean for the restaurants that were inspected and received an A in the first round?  What if they slack off and let a crazy band of rodents infiltrate their kitchens after the grade is posted?  Will they then be demoted to a B or C?  As the inspections are to be conducted randomly only once per year, its hard to say.  The best bet may still be to read diner reviews of your intended restaurant online first before venturing out.

Waiter –  what’s this fly doing in my soup?
Well, it looks like he’s doing the backstroke.

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Filed under Brooklyn, Brunch, Food, Gothamist, Hell's Kitchen, New York, New York City, Queens, Restaurants, Uncategorized

NYC Half Marathon

This past Sunday, I ran the NYC Half-Marathon. It was fun – its my second – ran the Staten Island half back in 2008. This one was definitely much easier though – in large part I believe because a combination of better training and better usage of fluids/ food items. Along the course there were multiple spots for fluids (aka-“Fluid Stations”) offering Gatorade Endurance formula drink and also water. There was also a table where you could get PowerBar gels around the 10th mile or so.

What you don’t generally think about though when you’re running the races is how (freaking) much time and effort goes into getting all that juice, water and gels ready. This shot is from the Brooklyn Half back in 2009 when A and I volunteered to help set up before the race. At 5:30 am (!) we arrived – at the end of May – the path from my Brooklyn apartment to the park lead us across empty streets, skies grey and into Prospect Park where the dew had not yet begun to burn off.

Prospect Park-5:45am, originally uploaded by Brockenbrough Photos.

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New York Road Runners
9 East 89th Street
New York, NY  10128
Website: www.nyrr.org

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Filed under Brooklyn, Food, New York, New York City

That Bird is Toasted!

Can’t get away this Thanksgiving to your relatives gathering?  Try roasting your own turkey this year in the oven. 

 …and if you don’t have an oven….don’t worry.  You can still prepare a turkey!  Just do it virtually:

 http://www.thisisgrow.com/archive/officemax/roastaturkey/#c536facf

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Filed under Brooklyn, Celebrations, Holidays, New York, New York City

Amorina Cucina Rustica: Prospect Heights

 Amorina’s is your basic low-key neghborhood place.  It serves rustic pizzas (i.e., free form pizzas with quirky toppings such as pancetta, fried egg, parmesan and black pepper for the “carbonara”), pasta and several simple but delicious appetizers.  Having gone a couple times, I have grown very fond of the provolone, olives and cured meats (and tomato) appetizer.  The ingredients are just cubed or cut in half and drizzled with olive oil and salt:

Amorina’s-sopresata, cheese and olive appetizer, originally uploaded by Brockenbrough Photos.

For pizza, I prefer their margherita (mozzarella, tomato and fresh cut basil).  If you don’t have time or the inclination to venture all the way out to Bensonhurst for Di Fara’s margherita, this is the one to get:

Amorina’s-margherita, originally uploaded by Brockenbrough Photos.

 A. has ordered the capricciosa in the past and enjoyed it.  This pizza comes with fresh mozzarella, sausage, artichokes, green olives, mushrooms and rosemary.  Wasn’t my favorite as the heat from teh pizza makes the artichokes wilt too much:

Amorina’s-artichoke and pancetta special pizza, originally uploaded by Brockenbrough Photos.

 Their decor is a mix of red-and-white checked tableclothes, old receipts from the owner’s grandmother’s restaurant in Italy and asundry menu boards.  The yellow walls – in need of new coat – and the thick (mostly chipped) deruta style pottery plates add to an overall feel that you have walked into a neghbor’s kitchen for a weeknight meal – a welcome mileau in a city obsessed with the latest and greatest.
 

Amorina’s, originally uploaded by Brockenbrough Photos.

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Amorina Cucina Rustica
624 Vanderbilt Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238-3804
Tel.:  (718) 230-3030
Website:  http://amorinapizza.com/

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Filed under Brooklyn, Food, New York, New York City, Pizza, Restaurants, Side Dish

Everyday Food-Thursday

Recently my Mom came up to visit. During her visit she left me with a copy of her Everyday Food by Martha Stewart. Now I thought the magazine looked a bit more like a series of ads than a real publication. However, the more I looked at it….while talking on the phone or during commercial breaks etc… the more appealing some of the quick and easy weeknight meals looked.

Everyday Food-Thursday, originally uploaded by Brockenbrough Photos.

Here’s the one I tried (above). Its “Penne with Shrimp, Feta and Spring Vegetables”.  I adpated my recipe for just using snow peas instead of snow peas plus asparagus and also nixed the mint (I don’t like mint and there was lemon called for regardless).

Coarse salt and ground pepper
12 ounces penne rigate
1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 pound peeled and deveined frozen shrimp, thawed
8 ounces snow peas, trimmed and halved on the diagonal
3 tablespoons olive oil (preferably extra-virgin)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup crumbled feta (4 ounces)
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh mint leaves

First you put a pot on the stovetop and bring the water to a boil for the penne. Next, while that’s heating up, cook the shrimp with olive oil, salt and pepper in a saute pan for about 2-3 minutes (until they turn dark pink throughout). Then add the snow peas (cut diagonally halfway) and garlic to the shrimp in the saute pan.

Once the pasta is done, drain and add olive oil, the lemon juice and the feta. Add salt and pepper to taste, and toss with the shrimp mixture to combine. Serve immediately!!  Eek!

It was pretty good for a weeknight meal!  I don’t ordinarily make a pasta with snow peas dish.  The tastes combined nIcely here.

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Filed under Brooklyn, Cooking, Food, New York, Recipes