Friday, March 25, 2011

Restaurant review of B.E.S “BOUTIQUE EAT SHOP”

Chef as Artist is something I hear often, but in the case of Chef Charles Cho it is true. I was invited to dine at B.E.S “BOUTIQUE EAT SHOP” and enjoyed a truly memorable meal. Part art gallery, part restaurant and part hang out for the local gallery denizens, the space doesn't have that cold feeling of the gallery spaces B.E.S. shares the Chelsea neighborhood with. On the contrary, it's very warm and cozy. Imagine you are in the home of your eccentric uncle who collects art and travels the world filling it with treasures. Now imagine that uncle was a teenage punk who came into money and is able to indulge his edgy 80's aesthetic with expensive materials and workmanship. The attentions to detail from service to the curated menu was thrilling and it didn't hurt they played great 80's tunes we love. Bowie, Heart of Glass... It's a very sexy space that would be great for first dates. The prices are high, but we're in NY and in a trendy nabe. Now, on to the food!

Ginger Grapefuit Panna Cotta with Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese
Highly recommend this. Flavorful cubes of gingery grapefuit, almost like a gelatin, paired
beautifully with a Lemonchello gastrique and goat cheese. The chef's genius lies in his terrific flavor combinations.

Seared Ahi Tuna, Fuji Apple and Watercress with Peanut Miso Dressing
Perfectly seared with an extremely flavorful dressing. The miso paired perfectly with the ahi.


Lobster Ravioli with Creamed Corn and a Tabasco Foam
I'm not a pasta fan, so this fell a little flat for me, but the foam was a revelation. I need to learn to make this myself. I'd love it on fried calamari.

Lamb Chops!
Australian Lamb Chops with Mushroom and Truffle Risotto and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with a Pomegranate Demi sauce. Decadent creamy and highly truffled. Mindblowing. You must order this.

Chocolate Lava Cake with Trio of Mango, Raspberry and Tangerine Sorbet
The sorbets were wonderful, but we were a little underwhelmed with the cake. The outside had an unusual almost chewy texture.

I can't wait to go back and bring friends. If this was in my neighborhood, it would be my local hangout. I'm told they're opening a spot in Brooklyn, but sadly not Park Slope.
Full disclosure: I was an invited guest and they knew I would be writing up a post. I did check out all the other patrons' dishes as they went by and they all looked as amazing as ours did. Check out the rave reviews over on Yelp. You don't have to take my word for it. :)

559 W 22nd St
(between 10th Ave & West St)
New York, NY 10011
Neighborhood: Chelsea

Friday, February 18, 2011

NYC Food Blogger Potluck and Juicy Pork Recipe

What is better than having a potluck with 30 of New York's greatest food bloggers? Having that potluck be a Chinese New Year Celebration. The food was spectacular and the food centric conversation was even better. Our hosts were the fabulous Jackie Gordon @divathatateny and Ken Leung @hungryrabbitnyc, who not only hosted, but put up fabulous decorations. The video below will give you a sense of the banquet we all enjoyed. You can see that everyone brought their A-game.

My contribution was braised pork shoulder, hoisin BBQ sauce and a cilantro chili slaw. You can probably guess I was going for a Southern spin on Asian cuisine. I was really please with how it turned out. The meat was meltingly juicy and tender and the slaw was the perfect fresh kick it needed. This is the recipe I based the slaw on, but I did up the herb quantity from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of both the mint and cilantro and added in 2 deseeded and minced Thai chili pepper. I also added some fish sauce to taste. The hoisin BBQ sauce is based on this recipe at Epicurious. I subbed out shallot for yellow onion and added in 3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds.

Juicy and Simple Pork Shoulder

for carnitas, enchiladas, stew, Vietnamese buns...
This shredded pork comes out juicy every time. It is a no fail recipe. I don't use lots of spices during the cooking process so that the leftovers are more versatile.

One 6 to 10 1/2 lb pork shoulder, skin-on, bone-in
Season well with salt and pepper
Sprinkle with a teaspoon or so of each seasoning like cumin coriander chili powder cayenne
2 Tablespoons paprika
2-3 tablespoons of soy sauce
3/4 bottle brown ale
a few cloves of garlic, peeled and halved, 6-10

Rub in the seasonings and put pork into an oven safe stockpot.
Add liquids and cover tightly with a lid or tinfoil. Cook 9-12 hours at 250 degrees until it is falling apart. Start checking after the first 8-9 hours. You'll know it's done when the fork slides in easily and the juices slide out. The internal temperature was at around 190 degrees when it was done.

The liquid it's in is delicious(might need some salt), but the meat is occasionally helped by a BBQ sauce, gravy, asian hoisin sauce or enchilada sauce for leftovers.

When the shoulder is done you really can keep it in a 200- 250 degree oven for 4-5 hours. I have recipes that have it cooking for 24 hours. I kept mine in for about 20 hours before we ate.

The skin is the best part!
When it's done, using a knife and tongs peel off the fat and skin layer and put it on a pan to roast in a hot(450 degree) oven. Make sure you salt and pepper it first. Roast about 10 minutes, or longer til some crisp bits are there. So delicious. You could also smear it with some honey before crisping it in the oven.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Gifts for Foodies

Whether you have a food geek niece, a chef brother, or a foodie aunt here are a few ideas to get you started. You might also like to check out my list from last year.

Under $25
Star Wars Heroes & Villains Pancake Molds (Photo at the top) This is so cute, what else can I say. I know plenty of geeky boys and girls here in New York who would want this. :) $19.99

Angled Measuring Cups
. I love these! Possibly life changing, especially when you need the liquid measurement in a recipe to be exact. Due to the angled surface you can look straight down at the cup to check the level. $19.99 for a set of three.

A popover pan
is a fun tool many cooks might never buy for themselves. Making it the perfect gift. I'll probably be using mine for my New Years Eve Party. The wow factor when guests see that tall cripsy exterior bursting up out of the cup and the moist eggy hollow interior ready for butter makes it well worth the $21.

Whiskey Stones are great for friends who like their tipple chilled, but not watered down. I've seen these in a local store and they are beautiful in a glass. Form and Function, FTW. You'll get 8 ice cube sized smooth soap stones for $20. (Edited to add: Thanks to a comment left here these don't hold the cold! Sorry about that.)

A Food Lover's Basket

I like the idea of introducing friends to cooking authentic recipes and THE source for whole spices and pastes and really anything you can imagine buying in Mumbai, London or Bangkok can probably be found at Kalustyan's. If you have a friend with an interest in Indian food create a gift package.
Start with Madhur Jaffrey's Quick & Easy Indian Cooking, a great novice cookbook. I learned to cook with whole spices from Jaffrey's books.
Although you can find many whole Indian spices at Whole Foods and even some supermarkets, the quality will probably be superior ordered from Kalustyan's thanks to the high product turnover. No old musty spices there.

Here are the staple Indian spices you might include in the gift package:
  • Black Mustard Seeds
  • Cardamom Pods
  • Coriander Seeds
  • Ground turmeric
Round out the gift with a bottle of mango chutney, ghee, which is simply clarified butter, and a package of crispy pappadums.
Price could be as low as $40 or as high as $60

It wouldn't be my Holiday gift list without something from D'artagnan , my favorite purveyor of natural and organic meats and other good things. The quality and care in their products is amazing.
I don't have a relationship with them other than that of slavish fangirl. :) Although I'd love a relationship. Don't they need a social media darling in the NY food world?

I did have a small fling with them after calling to let them know I found a bone in a sausage. They were sweet enough to send me a fois gras package as an apology. I hadn't blogged about the bone, and hadn't planned to. After all sausage is made from meat, right? I just wanted to give them a heads up about it because I eat their sausage and duck fairly often. There was strange timing with it since I had also included them in my Holiday Gift List just one week earlier! There was no quid pro quo. That's not how I roll as a food blogger.
Anyway, on to the good stuff.

Game Sausage Sampler for $26.99. I've had the duck and merguez and they are terrific.
You get one pack of EACH of the following:

• Duck & Armagnac Sausage
• Merguez Sausage
• Rabbit & Ginger Sausage
• Venison & Cherry Sausage
• Wild Boar Sausage

Duck Foie Gras with Black Truffles for $16 This would be a great gift on it's own, but even more so if you order the French Kisses 12 ounces for $10 to go with it.
Here is D'Artagnan's description of their kisses, "We start with plump, juicy prunes marinated in Armagnac (French Brandy) and then lovingly fill them with creamy, sweet mousse of Foie Gras." I haven't tried the Kisses yet, but I hear it from good authority they are mind blowing.

That's my list. Anything you'd like for the holidays?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fast Vietnamese Slaw
This is a colorful side dish that can add excitement to everything from roasted meats to simple baked fish fillets. It's sweet, salty, and crunchy with a little bit of heat that you can control.

I like keeping a bag of the premade slaw mix in the fridge for this recipe. It's one of those rare ready made ingredients that stay fresh for a good week or so. The slaw keeps for about a week in the fridge and I like it more the longer it sits. You might think the herbs would die in all that acid, but the flavor is still great.


Mix and let marinate for about 1/2 hour the following:
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 serrano pepper, seeded and minced, or more :)
1/2 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons Fish sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoon Sugar

Then add:
1 1/2 cup slaw mix (half a 1 lb bag) or 1/2 small cabbage, thinly sliced
1 shredded carrot (optional, I like more carrot than comes in the bag of slaw mix and it definitely adds a freshness to the mix)
1/2 thinly sliced red pepper (optional)
crushed peanuts and more cilantro for garnish

This slaw can sit for quite awhile, even overnight, but the vegetables do give off alot of liquid you might want to drain off. BUT save that liquid, I think it would make a great marinade for chicken or shrimp. Not sure about that idea of a marinade that's just a theory I'll have to try out.
Now, taste for the sweet, sour, salty balance adding more sugar, lime juice or fish sauce as needed. I think this is a skill that takes practice, figuring out how to balance flavors. It will probably need a little more fish sauce or sugar. Go very, very slowly when adding them it. Keep tasting.

Just before serving stir in:
1/4 cup fresh mint
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, make sure to include minced stems

Edited to add:
My friends over at eGullet forums recommend salting the cabbage first, letting it sit for awhile and squeezing out any liquid to cut down on how watery the slaw becomes the next day. It's not necessary, but I'll be trying this next time I make it.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Food Swapping
Urban domestics swap food in Brooklyn.

I went to the BKFoodSwappers food swap in Brooklyn last night and made out like a bandit. If you aren't familiar with the idea of food swapping, basically you bring some homemade food item and barter it for something tasty someone else made. We had a fantastic crowd of about 30 foodies.

I brought mango habanero hot sauce, papaya habanero ketchup, quick refrigerator pickles and an apple butter spiked with a tiny amount of habanero.
If you are looking for a great workspace in Brooklyn check out Brooklyn Creative League that gave us the space for our event. Thanks Neil! You can see the nifty form swappers fill out and put in front of our goodies for people to sign.

I came home with pickled green beans, some spectacularly tasty baked goods from Hungry Rabbit NYC, SkeeterNYC's Salmon Rilette, fridge pickles, apple pie rum, flax cracker, date tamerind dipping sauce from Jackie Gordon and Nomnivourous' bacon jam(recipe). I'm feeling very pleased with myself.

Swapping tips:
  • Know your audience. I knew my particular crowd are foodies, so I couldn't just stroll in with basic chocolate chip cookies and expect to score.
  • Label your items with your contact info and any social media links.
  • Have great organizers like Kate of Hipgirls and Meg of Brooklyn Homesteader who keep the event moving along.
  • Be prepared to go after what you want, channel your inner car salesman. I heard lots of begging and cajoling last night. I may have threatened @EmilyHanHan on Twitter for her bacon jam. :)
  • Go early. Get your name on what you prize the most.

Are you a swapper? Want to throw a swap? Kate has a nice description over at her website.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Love a macaron? Like pumpkin? Live in New York?
You might want to head on over to the Payard Patisserie website and preorder some pumpkin goodies. A lovely PR person let me know about how Payard is celebrating Halloween and I'm happy to share the good news with you.
Here are a few reasons why you would be a hero if you show up at a Halloween party with pumpkin macarons or even the $24 completely adorable cake:
  1. François Payard is a third generation French Pastry Chef.
  2. He was awarded “Pastry Chef of the Year” by the Bon Appétit Food & Entertainment Awards
  3. While the kids are eating poor excuses for sweets, you could be eating a terrific dessert.
  4. Macarons are the tastiest little bites, crispy outside creamy inside bites ever created by man.
Need I say more? I'd go for the cake. $24 is reasonable considering the fabulous chef.
Available Friday, October 29 through Sunday, October 31 and can be ordered at for delivery in Manhattan on Friday or Saturday, or for pick up at FPB or FC Chocolate Bar (located in the Mauboussin jeweler on Madison Avenue) on Friday, Saturday or Sunday by calling 212-995-0888 ext 131 or emailing

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Papaya Ketchup
This is delicious with my fried plantains, baked sweet potato spears or served with fish. This is terrific with mango too.

Makes 1 cup

1 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon butter

4 tablespoons onion, minced

1 teaspoon ginger, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 papaya, ripe, chopped

1/4 cup cider vinegar

4 tablespoons orange juice(optional, you could use just about any juice or water here)

1/4 cup sugar

Pinch of ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice, ground

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce or to taste, habanero is reccommended


  1. In a medium sauce pot, heat the oil and butter.
  2. Add the onion, ginger and garlic. Cook for 5-10 minutes over a medium low heat until the onion as softened.

Add the papaya and cook an additional 5 minutes.

Add the cider vinegar, water, sugar, cloves, allspice and hot sauce. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer.
  5. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until thickened. Puree in food processor and cool completely. Add salt and pepper to taste. You may want to add more hot sauce.