Entrance to The Elm; Bar/Dining area; Part of our table setting; Amuse Bouche: Olive financier
I’ve been a fan of Chef Paul Liebrandt’s elegant, modern, envelope-pushing food for a while now. I’ve eaten at his now closed 2* Michelin restaurant Corton a few times (my most epic, humbling experience was the 20-plus course birthday tasting menu I ate two years ago) pretty much affirm my adoration of his food.
When I heard from Paul earlier this year at New York‘s Culinary Experience that he was opening The Elm, it comes as a mild shocker to me since I thought Corton seemed to do very well then and of all places he chose to have a restaurant in the heart of hipster Brooklyn?
At any rate, I finally went to The Elm to celebrate my mother’s birthday this past weekend. She heard, read and seen my photos of the mentioned Corton meal, she was intrigued of his food and wants to eat at The Elm.
Riding the L train over (being packed like sardines on a summer-like evening) to Williamsburg, we arrived to the restaurant in the shiny glass complex of the King & Grove Williamsburg hotel.
The restaurant and its bar were buzzing with diners grabbing a quick dinner before heading out to clubs, celebrating their birthdays, or having a date night. The bright open kitchen with the dining counter was all the way in the back. When we look at the menu, the prices are very affordable knowing the caliber of cooking Chef Liebrandt and his crew does.
We were seated at the tables not too far from the maître d’ and not too soon, we were presented with an amuse bouche of black olive financiers topped with what seemed like whipped mascarpone cheese, finely diced olives and a delicate edible flower.
We started with the foie gras ($18), a three-inch diameter puck of luscious fatty duck liver topped with Concord grape gelée with delicate slivers of Champagne grapes to add some sweet acidity. Continue reading “Dinner at The Elm” »
This year’s StarChefs took place at the SuperPier (last year). The venue has a lot of character like large steel shipping containers suspended in mid-air and exposed brick walls. This year’s theme “Guts & Gory” seems to fit this venue – rustic, unfinished space to have a sophisticated industry four-day event – that’s if you include their public kickoff event, Smoke@ICC. (This was my third year attending this amazing event. You may read through my experiences for 2012 and 2011.)
Gorgeous day to have a BBQ; Various plates at StarChefs’ Smoke@ICC
Smoke@ICC was their first annual barbecue competition event. It is a one-of-a-kind competition of ten small but renowned pit masters will face off against professional chefs like 4505 Meats (San Francisco, CA), The Carillon Restaurant (Austin, TX).
Two weekends ago, I was asked by Complexity Group to shoot and video their annual event, Grapes On a Train. Complexity is a New Zealand-based group that would bring awareness of their home country’s delicious wines to the United States.
This particular event is very unique as a medium-sized group of wine industry people, like sommeliers, wine buyers, wine directors, and a few writers gather to meet at NYC’s Penn Station to ride a vintage train car and take the scenic route along the Hudson River to Montreal, Quebec, Canada. During that long ride north, we participated in four different wine seminars (we rotate in groups) and tasted the delicious New Zealand wines that the winemakers took along for the trip.
OXO Good Grips Vegetarian tools and some of the tools used for salad
OXO and Plated chose me as one of the few bloggers for this “very vegetarian recipe challenge.” I honestly thought it’s great time for me to go on a relative vegetable cleanse for my diet since I attended and ate at many food events (just look back a few posts or my Twitter and you’ll see what I mean).
Since autumn is here, believe it or not, that means apples are at its peak and root vegetables like fennel and carrots are becoming abundant, those were my flavor inspirations for this salad. Over the years, I have come to love sweet and savory-herbaceous food. (Even in my desserts, some have a savory twist to it.)
To those who are not familiar with fennel, it looks sort of like a white onion bulb with a long green stem that has delicate green fronds growing out at the end. It tastes quite licorice-y or anise in its raw form and it’s very mellow and sweet when it’s roasted.
I did use a fancy new carrot yogurt from Blue Hill Yogurt to reinforce the carrot’s flavor and sweetness as well as keeping the dressing in emulsion form (so when the dressing does sit in the refrigerator, it will still stay as a homogeneous liquid). You are more than welcome to use any plain yogurt that’s strained in a cheesecloth overnight or plain Greek yogurt to have the texture but you might need more honey to counteract the tartness of the Greek yogurt.
This past weekend, I made a brief trip up to Montreal for a photography assignment for Complexity. Since I knew this particular trip was coming up, I asked around who makes really good doughnuts around Montreal? After some research and who had more flexible hours, I found Trou de Beigne. (Who knew Montreal are like the traditional French compatriots? Many shops close early on Sundays and not many open on Mondays.)
Trou de Beigne is a premium, artisan doughnut brand that makes the freshest, tastiest doughnuts I’ve had in a long time. Anywhere.
My dozen of regular sized doughnuts ($2.25 each) were dropped off to my hotel, while I was out in experiencing beautiful Montreal, by Trou de Beigne’s very kind proprietor, Giuliano.
These delectable fried wheels of dough were fluffy, not too sweet and it satisfied my sweet tooth, especially after burning the late night oil after hanging out in Montreal with my new friends of sommeliers and wine experts who traveled with me.
The flavors I had were the Salted Caramel, Blizzard, Coconut Lime, Maple Bacon, Espresso (version 2.0), and S’mores. The salted caramel was a delicious combination of fluffy, sweet, moist doughnut meeting a slightly gooey, salted caramel glaze that was beyond a basic glazed doughnut.
The Blizzard is tasted like an Oreo cookie in a doughnut form. It is based on the chocolate doughnut enrobed in a white glaze and topped with cookie crumbles.
The coconut lime transported me to the Florida Keys while I was in chilly Montreal from the vibrant, in-your-face lime flavors from the lime zest with a flaky sweet coconut.
The s’mores doughnut almost looked like a summer campfire with burnt marsmallows in the center and it does taste like a better version of the beloved campfire treat.
Maple Bacon was a perfect balance of sweet and savory from the maple glaze and smoky slightly salty bacon. (I wish the bacon was a bit more crispier.)
The Espresso doughnut was very good and liked the moist dark chocolate doughnut topped with coffee crumbles on top.
If you are ever in Montreal, you must get Trou de Beigne doughnuts. Their stockist (in Montreal) is currently Cafe Olimpico but you should definitely write to them on Twitter or by e-mail to find out where you can find their amazing doughnuts. It’s worth every calorie…
2013′s Honorees at SHARE’s 10th Anniversary A Second Helping of Life: Dr. Stephanie V. Blank of NYU Langone Medical Center, Nancy Bader & Michael Leventhal, and Ruth Reichl (with Chef Anita Lo of Annisa, on left)
This past Monday was SHARE: A Second Helping of Life 10th Anniversary that brought together the top female chefs in New York City with our favorite celebrities for a fabulous tasting to benefit SHARE that took place at Chelsea Pier’s Pier 60.
SHARE is a nonprofit organization based in New York City, aims to shed light and foster a compassionate community with the help of volunteers who staff phone lines and offer individualized support for women battling breast and ovarian cancers. The friendly, reassuring voices answering calls from patients, families and friends are often those of survivors themselves, which makes them keenly experienced in navigating the uncertainty that lies ahead. Each year, female chefs from around the city gather to raise money to further SHARE’s mission of care at A Second Helping of Life, a walk-around tasting event showcasing their deliciously inspired eats and drinks.
Chefs Amanda Freitag, Anita Lo, and nearly five dozen guest and sous chefs, plus executive chefs emeritae, dished up signature offerings to more than 1,000 attendees.
Here’s some of my favorite dishes of the night:
Grilled quail on seeded toast with warm parsley vinaigrette
Chef Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune (one of my favorite brunch spots in the Lower East Side) was working hard to keep up with the demand of what I thought was the most vibrantly flavored dishes served that night (and I did I came back for seconds!). The perfectly seared and seasoned, medium-rare quail was fantastic with the brash, acidic, herbaceous parsley vinaigrette. The thin, originally crisp toast that’s sitting on the bottom of the bird absorbed all of that wonderful juices and sauce that I don’t mind eating that slice of now soft, borderline mushy bread. I’m still dreaming of having it again. Continue reading “SHARE’s A Second Helping of Life 10th Anniversary Benefit” »
After a fruitless search for the traditional Australian and New Zealand pastries she fell for while attending the University of Wollongong, NYC-import Laura Forer began baking them in her Harlem kitchen. She now delivers the made-to-order delicacies citywide.
Since I have eaten a few Australian desserts in NYC, I found them to be fine but nothing great. The sweets from Waltzing Matilda’s are pretty darn delicious and a few are unusual as I have never seen them before.
The lamington was a not too sweet, moist, large cube of yellow cake layered in tart raspberry jam, coated in milk chocolate frosting and sweetened flaked coconut. The light pink topped coconut ice was an rare candy to find in the States but it’s simply made of coconut, milk and sugar that would swoon the coconut admirer. The Hedgehog brownies are rich fudge brownies that has crunchy, crumbled biscuits that give it texture, probably implying its name. The rainbow nonpareils coated 100s & 1000s biscuits has the texture of the black & white cookie but a bit more buttery and crumbly and the Anzac biscuit is an oat-y, buttery cookie that’s fantastic with a cup of hot tea. Continue reading “Delicious Aussie and New Zealand Desserts from Waltzing Matilda’s” »
El Rey is a very new coffee shop that just opened in the Lower East Side by Nicholas Morgenstern of a very good East Village restaurant, Goat Town. If you have not realized this, the Lower East Side doesn’t have many options for very good coffee compared to other parts of Manhattan. El Rey is a caffeine life saver for the area. They exclusively use Counter Culture coffee beans and make espresso shots off a gleaming Strada machine (makes a wonderful cappuccino and every coffee geek’s dream if he/she has the counter space) and there’s pour over coffee. The most novel thing on their coffee menu – they brew their own iced Vietnamese coffee (large $4.75) and it’s on tap.
I adore Vietnamese coffee because of it’s dark, potent coffee brew that meets the cloyingly sweet condensed milk and manages to meet a happy zen. El Rey manages to make a very good version of this caffeinated beverage. The brew is a combination of Rustico and Toscano beans that is syrupy like a traditional Vietnamese coffee. When the barista pours their condensed milk syrup (a blend of sweet condensed milk and whole milk), it’s a beautiful sight and delightful to sip on a slightly humid morning we had. Continue reading “El Rey Coffee – A Great Coffee Spot in the LES” »
The past Thursday, KOI SoHo marked their one-year anniversary with an editor’s dinner to showcase the restaurant’s signature dishes. The chef team of Executive Chef Richard Lee, Executive Sushi Chef Nobuhiro Hamazaki, and Executive Pastry Chef Mineko Malcolm, presented an exclusive tasting menu. The restaurant is chic with a handsome Library to lounge over a drink and the private dining area was beautifully decorated with chandeliers and candles strewn down the long dining table.
We started with The Big Apple as a welcome cocktail. The sake based cocktail is a new addition to the menu and will debut to the public on National Sake Day on October 1st. It’s not too sweet, nicely spiced with the touch of cinnamon.
Our first course was the omakase sushi paired with a very clean, sweet Junmai Daiginjo sake. The omakase plate was (left to right) had a wonderfully minimalist poke (a Hawaiian ahi tuna) that’s subtly highlighted with sambal and lemon juice, fluke topped with a zesty lime and yuzu pepper ponzu, seared toro sushi brushed with bonito soy sauce and grated daikon radish, and red snapper topped with a yuzu scallion sauce. Personally, I liked the poke the most then the red snapper. Others were good but not as amazing. Continue reading “KOI SoHo Anniversary Dinner” »