Sunday, July 27, 2008

Momofuku Ko

ever since school let our for the summer, I've been waking up at 9:55am and jumping immediately onto my computer to click for reservations on the Momofuku Ko website. By 10:00:01, the 12 (or 14?) available seats for the day are all gone, so it's really about how lucky you are with your internet connection at that one fraction of a second you connect. Last week my efforts bore fruit, and Priya and I went to Momofuku Ko for our early anniversary dinner last night.

The restaurant is small and uncrowded--they seem to stagger the times people come, so at any given time there's only four or so couples eating (sometimes five), which makes it a lot easier on the chefs. they make a big deal about how there's "no waitstaff" and how the chefs do everything, but there are two hostesses who seat you, clear your place (sometimes the chefs do that when the hostesses are busy), and pour you wines and explain your wines and handle the checks and such. Here, this is the WHOLE restaurant (there were two more seats to our left, but that's it):

the prix fixe meal was a flat $100/person (up from the recent $85/person--hm! still cheap for what it is, though...) As a gift to me, Priya said she'd pay for the paired wine menu--we got the cheapest, at $50/person, although there were also higher levels at $85 and $150. we sat down at 6:15 and the meal got its start.

(note: taking pictures is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN at Ko, so we were unable to get photos of every course, and the ones we did sneak were kind of off-center and such. by the end we were more confident--if they kicked us out at that point, hey, free dinner!--so there are more, but forgive any lapses).

First course:
a small bowl of pork chicharrones dusted with chili powder. the chicharrones were not like any I've had before. rather than a brown, dense, deep-fried "comb" of fat, these were pure white and light and crispy like potato chips made out of solidifed bubbles. they were very salty and a bit spicy, but not greasy or even really porky at all

a small red sweet plum, cut in half and brushed with miso and soy glaze, and then grilled. I think it also had a ribbon of chives on top, but Priya swears hers had no such green. because the chef was right in front of us, we got to see her make half a dozen more over the course of the meal and she always put the green ribbon on it. QED. it was delicious and sweet, reminiscent of the fresh plums we'd bought from the mean Francophone farmer in Montreal, and the grilled/soy tastes perfectly mixed with the sweet to cut the salty, dry taste of the chicharrones.
Not my picture, but from another resourceful food blogger:

Second course (or possibly part of the first):
A tiny (golf-ball-sized) English muffin, smeared liberally with snow-white bay-leaf-infused pork fat (it looked like cream cheese as the chef slathered it on), grilled face down. This was fabulously delicious, porky in ways the chicharrones were not. Priya remarked that she was glad they weren't two full-sized English muffin halves, because it would kind of be too much, and I agree. it had a fantastic "throat feel/taste" as I swallowed, toasty and rough but also smooth and flavored from the grease.
Pairing: a fizzy rose

Third course:
Diver scallop, raw and sliced into thin disks, with spicy whipped buttermilk, white soy sauce, and poppy seed dressing. this was absolutely fantastic, texturally--the scallop was slimy, and the buttermilk sauce lubricated it and contributed a different kind of slimy, and then studded throughout were these crunch poppy seeds. I think it was probably the best "texture" dish of the whole night. the flavor was also great, not fishy at all but still hinting at the sea. I think this is sometimes done with fluke, but I prefer scallop.
Pairing: viogner

Fourth course:
Braised morels, little turnips, turnip greens, and white fungus in bacon dashi. The dashi was clear and basically tasted like smoked water with a umami undertone. The vegetables and fungi were tasty; this was a good 'intermediate' course, a gentle one to give our palates a rest, before the next...
Pairing: sake, Masumi Okuden

Fifth course:
Soft-boiled "hen egg", lightly smoked, with caviar, fingerling potato chips, and onion soubise, with sweet potato vinegar. This was one of the first courses that really knocked our socks off...there has been much hay made about Momofuku's description of the egg as a "hen egg" instead of just "egg" or even "chicken egg", but our chef just said "an egg". I even pressed him--what kind of egg, chicken?--and he was just like "yeah". but the people next to us got the "hen egg" description from the female chef. anyway, this dish was just tremendous. the liquid yellow yolk flavor mixing with the fishy caviar was amazing, and I kind of want to spoon some cheap salty caviar over my next over-easy egg. Priya loved the cute fingerling chips and the texture they added (although I found them to be kind of a distraction), and the zap of the vinegar when you got a bite of everything was welcome. yum!
Pairing: Scholium Projet sauvignon blanc. (incredibly fruity smell, like apple juice, but not especially sweet or fruit on the tongue)

Sixth course:
Possibly the best course of the night. This was sweet corn ravioli with crumbles of beef sausage, sweet pickled onions, cotija cheese, and sweet corn kernels on top. Priya pretty much gushed over this one, and it was entirely justified. The inside of the ravioli appeared to be made of sour cream and squeezed sweet corn juice (although two of my ravioli had a much more yellow inside, and one--and all of Priya's--looked more white, like a standard ricotta). a sauce of butter and corn broth was spooned over the whole thing. the chef kept mispronouncing the cheese as "cojita" instead of "cotija", but never mind. we resolved to try to make a dish like this ourselves, maybe next summer or later in August--it's obviously super-seasonal.
Pairing: Pinoit noir, 2005 Givry burgundy

Seventh course:
Strips of grilled rainbow trout over bacon puree, copious amounts of roasted almonds, marinated green and yellow beans, and breakfast radish. I absolutely loved this dish (and it was a pretty large amount of food), although Priya peeled the skin off her trout strips and said it was only okay. But somehow the balance of flavors was exactly right--the fishy trout (plus skin) in the same bite as a crunchy roasted almond with a dab of bacon puree...I just couldn't get enough, and ate Priya's discarded skin with almonds as she tried to finish her dish.
Pairing: Allagash white ale (only a shot glass, really; I appreciated the small tastes given with every other pairing, but I thought for this fishy, hearty grilled entree, they should've split the bottle between us).

Eighth course:
We had fallen behind the other three or four couples who started around the same time as us, so we got to see food being prepared about a course ahead of where we actually were. As we were getting served this course--a sweet desserty thing--everyone else was on the next course, eating something big and meaty. Priya had read that giving a meat after the desserty thing was common, though, so we weren't worried.

this was lychee gelee and pieces of lychee, with pinenut brittle pieces, completely smothered in a huge pile of grated frozen foie gras torchon. a really interesting combo that would not exactly be at home at (but would be neighbours with) La Pied du Cuchon in Montreal, we found it to have an extremely interesting texture/flavor combo. the salty fattiness of the frozen foie gras melting into the sweet jelly taste of the lychee, combined with the hidden crunch of the pinenut brittle, was great. we both agreed, however, that more pinenut brittle was necessary, because bites taken without it were a little too strange (all mush and melt).
Pairing: Dessert sake, didn't quite catch the name...something like "komoken fu"? lychee flavor.

Ninth course:
Muscovy duck (three parts: loin, breast, and leg), charred Chinese long beans, pickled cherries, and fresh chestnuts. This course was a contender with the corn ravioli as Possibly The Best Thing Ever. The duck had an amazing crispy skin on top; biting the soft, warm, deliciously flavored meat with a piece of skin crunching on top was incredible (Priya compared the skin on the duck to "the frosting on the cake," an accurate description of how you need both to make the taste work perfectly). The sour cherry sauce and the cherries themselves were lovely, and the fresh chestnuts were a brisk pleasantry...I'd only had the canned water chestnuts mixed in my food, and the difference with these fresh chunks of chestnut were profound. Priya doesn't even really like duck and thought this was fantastic.
Pairing: Rouge of some sort

Tenth course:
Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade) sorbet over mint julep crumbles. A good little palate cleanser before dessert. Priya guessed that the mint julep crumble was made by soaking cake or bread in actual mint juleps and then dehydrating it, and the chef confirmed it a couple of minutes later. Still, I found the crumbles not crispy enough for me, nor quite minty enough...the sorbet was nice, very iced-tea-y (and I love iced tea).

Eleventh course:
What I'd been waiting for all night: cereal-milk panna cotta over a schmear of avocado, with salty cornflakes and a chocolate-hazelnet flake. I'd read about the famous cereal-milk panna cotta, of course, in which the chefs make the dessert out of milk in which cereal had been soaking, and it really lived up to the hype. I'm glad we got this instead of the fried-apple-pie option that I'd read sometimes replaces it. Really the best panna cotta I've ever had, and the flavor combo with the salty, fatty avocado was inspired.
Pairing: Reymos sparkling Muscatel, Spain (valencia). kind of like carbonated perfume--sweet, though!

All told, this was one of the best meals I've ever had, and the price (under $400 for tax, tip, alcohol, etc.) was quite low, compared to what else is available in this city. Really, none of the hype I've heard about this place was overblown. I'd love to try to go again in a year when we'd be assured of getting some different dishes...I never got to try the famous braised short rib, for example. overall, it was a 2.5 hr meal that was worth the price (I don't know if anything is worth the reservation drama, though).

The Olive Garden (really)

lazy Friday afternoon, a bunch of teachers (& Bill, who gets out at 1pm on Fridays) went to play pool at Slate, and then the ladies went shopping (sorry it's so stereotypical, but that's what they wanted to do!) and Prado, Bill, and I went to tour the Masonic Temple (tours were over). Failing that, we went to The Frying Pan, this bar-on-a-barge, and watched helicopters take off.

evening was approaching, and Bill made us an offer: if we would come to eat at the Olive Garden with him and Lauren, they would pay for our food. they'd gotten a $100 gift card, see, and wanted to burn it up. sure, we said. why not?

we got to the Olive Garden at 23rd and 6th at 6pm and there was a HUGE LINE and a 15-minute wait! for the Olive Garden! and presumably none of the people were getting free meals like us! Lauren had been waiting for us, though, so we sat down pretty swiftly (the restaurant is huge and maze-like, also, and completely full).

now, the crazy thing about the Olive Garden is that the entrees are all from $17.50-$26.00! so it's not even cheap! I know NYC prices are higher, but seriously, I can get a great Italian dinner from the place across the street from me for $11, and this crappy chain is charging $15.95 for spaghetti and meatballs?

well, they started us off with free samples of white Zinfandel. Bill and Lauren weren't that hungry and split some pomodoro pasta, and I got chicken parm with a side of spaghetti and a giant salad. Prado was eating later with his gf, so all he did was drink free wine and Dr. Pepper and then scooted.

now, the salad was clearly from a bag and kind of gross, and the chicken parm was kind of bland, but the pasta and sauce was pretty decent. if the whole meal was $9, I'd say it
was a solid, easy lunch. but our bill was $60 for really only two people eating! ah, well. I did save one chicken parm breast and they gave us three breadsticks to take home, so that was lunch the next day.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Press 195 knish sandwich

This looks like a gross piece of crap, doesn't it?

It's a Press195 potato knish sandwich with hot roast beef, sweet onion jam, mustard, and cheddar. They slice the knish in half, make the sandwich, and then stick it in the sandwich press.

I've been to Press195 a few times but never gotten the knish sandwich, and a few months ago the New York Times published a piece on the best sandwiches in the city. The knish sandwich was on it, and I wanted to try it out before I left Park Slope.

It was homely, but it tasted far better than it looked! The potato gave it a strange quality that made it feel much larger and denser and more filling than it actually was. Mixed in with the potato flavor was the pitch-perfect combo of roast beef, mustard, and sweet onion jam. I think that flavor combo really made the sandwich, moreso than the knish. But the pressed-knishitude of the sandwich, with all that inside, is what made the gestalt: a greasy, deep-flavored, heavy sandwich. 8 bucks plus a buck in tax, but pretty worthwhile. it even came with a bag of Utz chips.

Roma pizza

After hearing multiple times that some of the best pizza in NYC was just two blocks from me (and yet I'd never been there), I decided to hit Roma Pizza for lunch today.

I went at 3pm and it was still pretty crowded--I barely managed to snatch a table. It's a basic pizza shop, not some wood-grilled sit-down place like Franny's, and I was unimpressed at the sight of the facilities. however, as I looked at the slices they had laid out, I could tell that they were a cut above the regular pizzashop crap...

I ordered a margherita slice (with fresh tomatoes and basil and lots of fresh mozzarella) and a "grandma's pizza" slice (a square, thin slice). both were pretty crispy, not greasy, and extremely delicious. the grandma's slice especially--holy crap! the sauce was excellent, the flavor of the crust was superb, and the slices weren't greasy in the slightest. consider me a fan, I guess!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Chiles & Chocolate

after Beth & Coleen's wedding, Priya & Jonathan & I went to Chiles & Chocolate, a Oaxacan restaurant fairly close to my home, on 7th Ave in Park Slope. During our Montreal trip some months back, Priya had barely eked out a win kicked my ass in a series of Scrabble games we played on the train ride up. The agreed-upon prize was this dinner, and although it was a couple of months late, Priya was claiming her due.

we waited a few minutes to get a seat in the heavily air-conditioned rear tent; after being outside in Beth & Coleen's backyard all afternoon, sweating, we figured it was worth it. although crowded at first, it cleared out as we ate.

we split an order of guacamole ($8) with a side of chapulines (grasshoppers, +$1) to start. the guacamole was good, although a bit oniony; because the orangey salsa they gave us for free at the table was so good, though, we ended up taking a large quantity of the guac home. the grasshoppers were also pretty good, though a bit strange. they had a heavy chipotle flavor, smoky and spicy, and maybe a bit sour (lemon?). Priya was afraid of getting one with liquid in the fat abdomen, but I think they were pretty well dried out and crunchy. alone, they were a bit much--kind of like eating just a little dried chipotle pepper with no accoutrements--but they were excellent on a chip, with a blob of guacamole. added a chipotle spice to it...

I also had a watermelon agua fresca, and it was pretty much what you'd expect--good, fresh, not too sweet, obviously made from fresh watermelon but not too watery.

there were three kinds of mole on the menu, and we ordered one of each type. I got the mole amarillo (yellowy) with roast pork, Priya got the mole coloradito (reddish) with chicken enchiladas, and Jonathan got the mole negro (black) with chicken enchiladas. the amarillo sauce was absolutely delicious--it was made with a pumpkin seed base, and tasted a little fruity, kind of like Japanese curry. it also had chunks of potato mixed in it, which kind of enhanced the Japanese-curriness. I thought the pork itself could have been a little bit saltier and more flavorful, but the mole sauce itself was so delicious it more than made up for it. the mole negro was pretty strong, not bitter exactly, but not something I could have eaten a whole plate of (Jonathan seemed to agree, and took home half his food--in fact, we all took home half of our entrees). Priya described hers as exactly what she'd wanted--not too dark-tasting, slightly sweet, well-rounded...

for dessert we split a flan. it was fantastic! Jonathan had kind of pressured us to order the flan (because he was a flan-atic, ha ha) and I'm glad he did. it was much denser than other flans I've had before, not at all woobly and floppy like those Japanese fruit puddings you get in cups at the really had to kind of bite through it and almost pull it apart? it was sweet, but not sickeningly so. Priya remarked that it was probably the best flan she'd ever had.

all told, the meal was $87 with tax & tip, including only a single beer for Jonathan. not bad! hope I can get back before I move out of the area in August.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Garlic scapes

I got a handful of garlic scapes at the Union Square Green Market for 20 cents (seriously--I think they were 2 bucks a pound) and tried to figure out what to do with them. I should've put them in with the cauliflower yesterday, but too late for that...

I had gotten two ears of sweet New Jersey corn at the green market, too, and boiled both of 'em up that night. For dinner I had a pretty simple ear of corn and Trader Joe's veggie burger masala (pretty good, tasted like samosa filling, potatoey and cuminy). then I cut the kernels off the other ear, mixed it with chopped garlic scapes and butter and salt and pepper, and had my side dish for tonight.

tonight I had ravioli with puttanesca sauce (I defrosted the other half of the sauce I made a few weeks ago), white corn with garlic scapes, roasted garlic on Italian bread, and a Caesar salad.

I think I underestimated the flavor and pungency of the scapes; I should've chopped them much smaller and used fewer for just one ear of corn. still really good, but I must completely reek of garlic now (I roasted and ate a whole clove; I ate a crapload of raw garlic scapes; my puttanesca sauce was very garlicy; my Caesar dressing was also garlicky).

Monday, July 14, 2008

chicken curry & cauliflower

easy simple dinner, again I perverted Priya's chicken curry recipe and basically just threw together whatever I had and skipped a bunch of essential things I didn't have and ended up with a decent easy meal.

I also made cauliflower with black mustard seeds and urad dal. usually I put scallions in it too but I didn't have any! so again, I just made do. predictably, it wasn't quite as good as usual, but combined with the last of the mango chutney Priya gave me and some storebought garlic naan, I had a pretty good meal.

Shrimp, pad thai, artichokes, mango salad

the Vaselines were playing at Southpaw, which is about 50 feet from my house, so Priya and I made dinner and hung around through the opening bands before walking over at 11pm to see the Vaselines themselves.

we made Greek-ish shrimp kebabs in the broiler ($8.80 for a pound of big, fresh shrimp in Chinatown) which we marinated in oregano, chili flakes, olive oil, garlic, and lemon, much as we'd had at my parents' house a little while ago...a little overly oreganoey, maybe, and under-chili-y, but still pretty good, even though we overbroiled them by perhaps one minute.

we also made pad thai from a box with broccoli. this was just the easy pasta dish on the side, and although we perhaps could have managed the rice noodles better, it was also pretty good. we used crushed cashews instead of peanuts. Priya did think that the sauce was a bit sweeter than usual and it could've been spicier, and I agree, but that's what sriracha is for!

Priya made green mango salad from the greenest mangos we could find (which were still a little too ripe in the middle) with fish sauce, lime juice, crushed cashews, etc. and despite the not-so-greenliness, it was lovely.

and we also made artichokes, boiled in lemony water and served with lemon butter. I love artichokes.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

pork bone at Eastern Noodle

I was picking some stuff up near school around lunchtime and decided to stop into Eastern Noodle to try a new kind of Lanzhou noodle--the pork bone I had seen other patrons voraciously picking at before.

when I ordered it, the noodlepuller was like "what? pork BONE?" I guess he didn't want to scare me with the bone if I actually wanted neatly-cut-up pieces of juicy pork. no, I wanted the bone. okay.

the soup comes piled high with pork bones, all right. first thing I noticed was that it was a pork broth, not a beef broth, which was great! I had worried that they'd just be using the same broth. the pork broth was good in a very different way than the beef broth, lighter but still full of flavor...the noodles were good, of course. I thought the high point of the soup would be the pork bones themselves. each were split in half for easy marrow access (see picture) and I got at least two big femur bones and some smaller bones. there were even some pieces of pork and fat clinging to the bones (which I gnawed off).

however, the pork bone ended up not being the focal point of the meal. see, the marrow was delicious--I scraped it out with my chopstick and it was like foie gras, velvety and fatty and so deep with porkiness. however, I found I liked it better when I hollowed out the bones into the soup and ate big mouthfuls of broth and noodle and bok choy, with chunks of marrow mixed in to add flavor to the whole mouthful. the pork bone seems like the central feature of the meal because it's so huge and in your face, but I think it works better as an addition, with the noodles and broth at the center.


in Ft. Greene to look at possible apartments, Priya and I met up with one of her friends in the neighbourhood and went to lunch at Pequena. as you might guess from its name, it's an extremely tiny Mexican restaurant (I think it had like six tables?). there were no other patrons most of the time we were there and two staff members milling around, but it didn't seem depressing or failing or anything--just bright and small and cute.

they had a lunch special menu and for $6.95 I got a pork torta with rice and beans--and for $1 extra they gave me guacamole (an ice-cream-scoop-sized bowl--a lot for a buck!) on the side.

now, the torta was delicious--the pork itself was flavorful, salted just right, not too smoky...I really enjoyed it. the beans and rice seemed good, too, but I was unable to enjoy them fully because of the huge blob of sour cream plopped into the center of the beans that I had to eat around (attempts to remove it by someone who shall not be named failed miserably and just spread it around).

however, the service seemed a bit confused at times. Priya didn't get her Coke until she asked for it twice (they realized they forgot, and apologized and whisked it out); also, she had a conversation with the waiter about whether the green mole or red mole was spicer, and went with the spicier green mole, but then when our food arrived it was red mole! again, they apologized, scolded the cook (the order ticket said green mole--we heard all this because like I said the restaurant is like 15'x15'), and eventually brought out the enchildas again, after we were almost done eating...

still, they were very nice, food was good, and I'd go back. maybe when I'm at BAM.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Arthur Avenue Italian & Albanian

so Priya and I spent the day in the Bronx, at the zoo on free Wednesdays (very, very insane and crowded) and then for some relaxation at the Botanical Gardens. then we strolled around Arthur Avenue to check out the Italian stuff that would hopefully be less retarded than the Little Italy shops that sell signs reading YOU TAKEA MY SPACE I BREAKA YOU FACE and whatnot.

I'm pleased to report that we encountered no such crap-shops! first we went to Full Moon for a slice of pizza. we'd heard reports of broccoli rabe calzones, but none were on the menu or on the counter. perhaps mistaken?

it looked pretty much like a regular pizza slice shop, and the pizza slices were very good New York slice-shop quality. better than your average joint, for sure--not greasy at all, kind of dry actually but still chewy and flavorful, good sauce, seems like a little too much cornmeal (but for some reason it actually worked on the pizza) picture because we were so hungry we tore into them immediately. The shop guys were speaking a mixture of Italian and Spanish and caught Priya laughing at one of the Italian jokes. while we were ordering a woman came in, spoke in Italian, and received a huge sheaf of basil leaves/stems that were wrapped and bagged for her. she didn't pay...owner's wife? just a local in the community?

we worked up an appetite for more at the Botanical Gardens and got back to the area around 6:30. we settled on Dominick's, a local family-style place recommended by my mom. as we walked in it was instantly obvious we were the only ones in the whole place (which was PACKED at 6:30, with old Italian people) who were outsiders/not Italian. (Priya was one of two nonwhite people who were there the entire time, and the other guy was obviously the Puerto Rican boyfriend of some IAP. oh, that's not counting the supertanned guidettes).

it's a little bit of a frustrating experience because there's no menu, no prices...the guy just comes up and is like "what do you want?" and you have to pry what there is to eat out of him (and he doesn't tell you everything, as we found out later as our neighbours began to receive plates of broccoli rabe and such, which we would've gotten if we'd known).

we got a plate of regular salad, which was giant and unfinishable (but with a good, simple, oily, Italian-pizza-place-style viniagrette), an order of osso buco, and a small plate of linguini with sauce.

the linguini was good but nothing super-special, but the osso buco was (in my opinion) fantastic. when I touched it with a fork, huge chunks of super-tender meat trembled and tumbled off. the outside breading (which had mostly been stewed away) was delicious. it was, interestingly, scattered with peas (?) and served over a tomato-sauced risotto-like bed of rice, which were both nice touches. the marrow (the best part) was difficult to suck out, but I managed to pick most of it out using one of the smaller bones as a tool. delicious and not cold (though not piping hot)! at the end, the server comes over to your table and is like "eh, that's $41." it was less than we'd estimated, and we'd also found a secret menu posted on the back wall that helped guide our choices (a little too late, though).

after dinner, we walked around and noted the surprising amount of Albanian (and Kosovar) shops, delis, and restaurants. I always knew that Shqipis were the next biggest guido ethnic group after Italians, but I hadn't realized that the old Italian stronghold of Arthur Avenue was nowadays divided between the two! (after some poking tonight, I found an interesting article about Albanian/Italian cultural crossover in NYC:

we wandered northward a bit and found a pizza shop (Tony and Tina's) Priya had read about that seemed to be a fusion of Italian and Albanian cuisines--they sold pizza, but also bureks (I bought a pumpkin-stuffed one to take home and have for breakfast tomorrow--I tried a bite, and it was delicious!) and tolemba (a fried pastry in syrup that's kind of like gulab jamun without cardamom and rose flavors--I got one to eat on the sidewalk). we stopped at an Italian coffee shop for pignoli cookies (good, but not quite toasty-crunchy enough--Priya thought they shouldn't be keeping them in the fridge) and then began the looonggg journey home.

Tolemba on the bottom, rice pudding on the top:

Baklava and homemade yogurt, supposedly AWESOME (but I didn't get any):

Bohemian Beer Hall

Czech beer garden in Astoria at 2pm? why not, we're all teachers, we're out for the summer. unfortunately it had changed its opening hours so we had to push it to 5pm. nonetheless, there was plenty of time for plenty of $14 pitchers of Staropramen. the kitchen was closed but the grill was open, so after a few beers I was willing to pay $10 for kolbasa and fries (add your own sauerkraut and rye bread). it was actually pretty darn good, but I think Mooney had one too many kolbasas, with disastrous results.

Brooklyn Label

Priya, Brina, and I went to Brooklyn Label for brunch. it was, as usual, pretty crowded, but we only had to wait five minutes or so for a table (probably because Brina arrived earlier, put our names in, and waited for an indeterminate amount of time. thanks Brina).

we debated various options, as usual--they seem to have some new things on the menu, such as a vegetarian red flannel hash made from beets (I regret not ordering that now. for some reason I wasn't in the mood--winter vegetables or somesuch thing. next time). I went with something I had had once before--biscuits and sausage gravy. it was delicious as usual, good sausage, good biscuits, but sadly the eggs were overcooked and not runny! disappointing.

Priya got another old standby, the belgian waffle--sweet, light, chewy, excellent again.

Brina ordered something I had seen on the menu several times but never ordered--green eggs, no ham. it was visually kind of stunning and tasted pretty good as well--I like the pesto and leaves of spinach (?) mixed in with the eggs along with provides a flavor that really comes together as a single, interesting thing, rather than just an omelette with spinach or something.

chicken marsala, again

Priya came over and we made a nice, simple chicken marsala with angel hair and caesar salad for dinner. (priya also made delicious garlic bread). very easy and very good. it probably would be better if we bothered to pound the chicken flat first, but I am lazy.