Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sun in Bloom

3 questions I get asked on a daily basis since I began this blog:
  1. When do I find the time to eat so much?
  2. Where do I find out about all these places?
  3. How am I not 200 lbs given the amount of food I consume?
The answer to the first two are connected. This is my thing. Food. Eating out. It's where I find my pleasure and what I get enjoyment out of doing. I get a rush of excitement entering a new restaurant and do a little happy dance when the food arrives.
Hence I make it my business to seek these places out and find the time to try them. Whether it's catching up with a friend, dinner with the hubby, out with the family, or just grabbing a bite by myself (I have no qualms about lunching solo). I think it's important in life to make time for the things we enjoy most.

As far as sources, I read a ton of food blogs, reviews from newspapers and magazines and word of mouth. Also, when you are a foodie you connect with other like-minded souls and word spreads about the places worth trying.

Regarding how I stay fit, it's pretty simple. I exercise ( a lot) and understand balance. I love food but rarely snack or eat sweets and dessert. Somehow I manage (for the most part) to find the balance between being happy with how I look (and feel), and satisfying my cravings for amazing food. Green juice every am also doesn't hurt. 

Sun in Bloom. Cute, comfortable, easy place for healthy food on Bergen Street in Park Slope. It's owned and operated by Aimee Follette who as quotes from her instagram page is "changing the world one delicious organic bite at a time".

 In here we use words like vegan, vegetarian, healthy, raw, and live. Not exactly my area of expertise, though I do enjoy clean fresh food, especially after a few days of gluttonous eating. They offer take out and delivery, and have a fridge stocked with fresh pressed juices, salad dressings, soups, and gluten free desserts. All are tasty and flavorful, and you know coming from me that means something.

The past 2 days I've tried to eat "clean" and stuck to my homemade green juice (kale, spinach, parsley, green apple, celery, cucumber, lemon, ginger), whole grains, and lots of veggies. No meat, fish, eggs or dairy. I don't cleanse often enough but when I do I feel energized and amazing. I figured Sun in Bloom was the perfect place to get some additional "good for you food", without having to think (or cook) too much. 

 So Monday morning I drove out to Sun in Bloom, sat down, and ate a delicious Hearty Macro Bowl filled with kale, collard greens, wakame, steamed butternut squash, brown rice, black beans and sesame dressing. It was filling and delicious. I also took home with me the Three Bean Chili, Spicy Sweet Potato Soup (spicy but delicious), and the Lentil Thyme Shiitake Mushroom Soup for lunch/dinner for the next few days. I also got the Tempeh Reuben with housemade sourkraut and live creamy russian dressing, and Bloom "Burger" with with tomato, basil, caramelized onions, and live sunflower dressing. I honestly don't have a negative thing to say about any of it.

This place is great as long as you understand what you are in for. Healthy food is no longer just for the health obsessed nuts, it works for the FOODIES out there too! Like I mentioned earlier, food (and life for that matter) is all about BALANCE.

Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Park Slope 

Good For: detoxing, lunch, take out, vegetarians

Bite Mark:

Sun in Bloom, 460 Bergen Street Brooklyn 718-622-4303

Sunday, November 25, 2012


I love the feeling I get when I read about an anticipated new restaurant opening in Brooklyn. Saturday evening we had the pleasure of trying the brand new Southern Italian focused restaurant, Krescendo. This place was originally slated to open in October, but with Sandy and the Nor'easter slowing things up a bit, it officially made its Brooklyn debut at the beginning of November. Krescendo is headed by famous chef/author/tv personality Elizabeth Falkner, who  recently relocated to Brooklyn to open up this new Italian eatery not far from the Barclay Center in the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn. 

Rosa Nero
Krescendo looks like what a lot of these new Brooklyn spots look like, and not in a bad way. Exposed brick, nice long bar with ample seating, and a sexy mosaic wood burning pizza oven on the back wall. The place was full but not packed, and the hostess led us to the bar saying the wait would be no more than 20 mins (not terrible for a saturday night in a borough that rarely takes reservations). The bartender Rob who incidentally interns at Serious Eats, was friendly and helpful. I got the Rosa Nera with rosemary infused vodka, lemon, honey and black pepper. Good, but kind of weak (I like a strong drink). My friend got the Sweet Action beer, which was almost as good and the name implies.

We ordered the Olive Misto and Black Garlic Knots while we were waiting for our table. Olives were flavorful and warm, and the garlic knots were crispy but soft in the center, and delicious. Rob recommended we also try the Arancino Balls which were really good, gooey crispy and not too heavy, with a nice pesto sauce around it. The Burrata with Caponata was also one of the highlights of the night. I LOVE burrata. Really how can you go wrong with a  creamy oozier version of a mozzarella cheese? This one was wonderful, as was the eggplant caponata.

    The pizza I'm sorry to say was probably the least exciting part of the meal, surprising as Chef Falkner actually won an "acunto forni"(think gold medal for pizza olympics) at the world pizza championship. The Margarita Extra pizza was just ok, I found the sauce on the sweet side and it did not have enough cheese to my liking. I was also not crazy about the Patata e Uova pie with potatoes, scallions, and egg, and although it sounded interesting, the potatoes were slightly undercooked, and both pizzas needed salt. The pizza was not terrible, but after the wonderful drinks and apps, I was expecting amazingness. Maybe we should have tried the Californication or Flower Power pizzas I had read about. To be fair, the restaurant is barely 3 weeks old, so I would definitely not count this place out because of it.

The pasta course was better than the pizza, and my table enjoyed. The sarde pasta was couscous like pasta loaded with capers anchovies, sardines, olives, and breadcrumbs. Pretty tasty. The other was more basic, but a good restaurant is often judged on how well they can make a basic marinara spaghetti. This one got a B+. Not Scarpetta level, the sauce a little on the sweet side, but still a pretty tasty bowl of spaghetti. We were satisfied, but not bulging. 

Dessert. As I'm sure you can figure out by now I'm not a huge dessert person (more FOOD please), but the Tartufo was pretty delicious. The Cannoli I found to be just okay, would skip this one next time.

Overall I enjoyed my experience at Krescendo and will probably be back. The food for the most part was clean, inventive and tasty. The drinks and appetizers were better than the pizza. But again they are only 3 weeks old. The wait staff was friendly, and the atmosphere works well as a good local place to add to the rotation. There was parking right outside, comfy booth seating, and a nice bar area. Try it and judge for yourself. We found it to be a solid Brooklyn spot.
Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Park Slope

 Good For: local easy spot, apps & drinks, date night, girls night 

Bite Mark: *** (2.5 for the food, half star for the friendly service and nice vibe)

Krescendo; 364 Atlantic Avenue bet. Hoyt & Bond 718-330-0888

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The (new) Beatrice Inn

Happy Turkey Day to all my Fellow Foodies!!!!!!
I'd like to take a moment today to say thank you to everyone for all your support and love with The Brooklyn Bite!

I am feeling extremely thankful this year for all the AMAZING FOOD ADVENTURES I've been lucky enough to experience, and especially for all the family and friends that are here to share it with me.  I hope everyone has a wonderful day, and enjoys this time with those they care most about!

Now without further ado, a review of last night's The Beatrice Inn.....

Twas the night before Thanksgiving, and I should have been wary from the moment the reservationist agreed to book a table for 8 at 8pm just a few hours prior to the night in question. Nevertheless, I was eagerly awaiting the reopening of the newly revamped The Beatrice Inn on West 12th street in the West Village.

For those who are not aware, The Beatrice Inn has a long history in New York City. It started as a 1920's speakeasy, that evolved into an Italian neighborhood joint. In 2006 it reopened as one of the hottest clubs scenes in NYC (with Ashley Olsen and Lindsay Lohan among the regulars), and eventually was shut down in 2009. The newest rendition of The Beatrice Inn has just recently reopened as an American restaurant spearheaded by Graydon Carter (The Waverly Inn, Monkey Bar).

I was never at The Beatrice Inn in during its heyday, but I did have certain preconceived notions of what it would be like now. I was expecting awe and excitement, secrecy, maybe a bouncer at the door, and perhaps some celebrity sightings. What I got instead was practically the opposite. The place is downstairs, it's dark and kind of dreary, with a number of dimply lit rooms, and a bar area in the front. It was half empty. It definitely had that cool, New York lounge-y sort of feeling and I dug the skylight above our table, but to us at least, it was a disappointment. 

We were seated right away, but unfortunately the night pretty much went down from there. 

The drinks took forever to come, and the waiter seemed perplexed with the idea that members of our party did not eat meat or shellfish. It was as if this was a brand new notion, and he had never met a New Yorker with such strange requests. After some back and forth with the kitchen, it was determined that there was just a handful of dishes we could order, and not much could be done in terms of substitutions or accommodations. Fine. I get that some restaurants are like that, especially hot new "scene-y" places, but it could came off as condescending. 

The bread was not bad, but it came with 2 accompaniments that looked exactly the same (butter, and a cheese fondue), which turned out to be confusing for those who did not eat cheese on the table. We went on to order a creamed potato soup with truffles and squash, a wedge salad that sounded promising with chunky blue cheese, tomatoes, and red onions, grilled halibut, and faro with cream and mushrooms. The soup was too rich and needed salt, the salad was not terrible but also not anything special, and the faro was undercooked and way more al dente than faro should ever be (think biting into uncooked rice). The halibut was actually pretty good, cooked to perfection, crispy and not too dry. 

Wedge Salad

Faro with Mushrooms

It then took the waiter what felt like a full hour to clear the dirty plates. For some reason, we felt the need to lumber on, and ordered the salted caramel creme brûlée (sounds better than it was), ice cream sundae (boring), and berries with cream (also boring).

I don't have many pictures to show for the night as there was a "no photography please" sign at the bottom of the menu, but you are probably better off. Skip this place, and don't believe the hype. I'm willing to forgo great food if the place is really fun, but this definitely was not. We had a good time with good friends, a nice pre-thanksgiving feast, but will definitely not be returning anytime soon. 

Neighborhood: West Village

Good For: As the infatuation guys would say "wasting your time and money"

Bite Mark: *

The Beatrice Inn; 285 West 12th Street, New York 646-896-1804

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Last night The Brooklyn Bite was off to Manhattan (via the bridge  and tons of traffic) to a family birthday dinner at the new East Village hot spot, L'apicio. L'apicio is an Italian themed restaurant from Executive Chef Gabe Thompson and beverage director Joe Campanale both of L'artusi (one of my favs!), dell'anima, and Anfora fame. In addition to the great modern Italian fare, there is also an extensive wine list, and a deep cocktail menu. The space is modern and slick, and larger than I would have guessed. There is a comfy looking lounge area in the front, and a main room with a mixture of stand alone tables and cushioned booths.                  

We sat by the bar where the friendly and helpful bartender attended to us until our party arrived. I had the delicious Spicy Dirty Martini, with celery bitters and b & g peppers and juice. 
Spicy & strong, just my style.

We were 6 people which definitely has its benefits (now I can order the whole menu without anyone giving me dirty looks!), and order WE DID!          

Check out the full menu here. L'apicio menu

We started with the Grilled Endive salad with pecorino; Romaine salad with anchovy croutons, Escarole with pecorino-buttermilk dressing, and the Bosc Pear with blue cheese and hazelnuts. All were decent salads, though maybe a little cheesy and slightly redundant. Next we ordered the bruschetta with fried egg, and tuna carpaccio with olives and artichokes. Both were excellent. I'm a sucker for anything with a fried egg on it, and fresh tuna carpaccio is always a good thing.

The pasta course was by far our favorite. The best was the Mezzalune with cauliflower, capers and pine nuts, it had great texture and delicious flavors. The Spaghetti with spicy tomato sauce, was simple and excellent. The Orecchiette with ribollita ragu, and the pasta special with porcini mushrooms, were also both delightful additions. Each pasta tasted unique and exquisite in its own way. 
Next came the roasted mushrooms, chillies, and ricotta salata
from the "polenta alla spianatora" section. Another winner. 

The main course. By this point we were all pretty full, but the fish was fresh and all the flavors worked well. The Red Snapper was prepared with black lentils, sofritoo crudo, and frisee, and the Branzino was grilled with chickpeas, chilis, and olives. Maybe not the most memorable part of the night, but solid fish. The creamed kale was the only thing we had all night that was a flop. The roasted brussels sprouts on the other hand, were great and went well with the fish. 
The night ended with dessert including a banana chocolate torta,  chocolate cake, and some gelato. The chocolate cake was better than the banana torte, though honestly none of the desserts were exceptional. Coconut gelato was pretty good, pass on the rosemary gelato.

All in all, I would definitely recommend L'apicio. The place was cool and trendy, the food was excellent, and we had a beautiful birthday dinner. 

Neighborhood: East Village, Bowery 
Good For: Drinks, Date spot, Birthday, Large groups

Bite Mark: *** & a half

L'Apicio; 13 East 1st Street bet. Bowery & 2nd Ave 212-533-7400 www.l'

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria

I love this place. It has all the making of a perfect, great for so many reasons spot. It's located on Great Jones Street, off Bowery, right around the corner from the original (and still great) Il Buco. There's a ton of excellent bars and restaurants in this area, and tons of nightlife for afterwards if that's what you are into.
I've been here twice now, once for dinner at the bar, and again yesterday with a friend for lunch. The food is delicious, the service excellent, and I love the vibe. The chef, Justin Smile does an amazing job. It's casual, but still really nice. 
When we came for dinner we had the padron peppers with preserved lemon and sea salt(I love these and order them any time I am able to), the gnudi with ricotta, cherry tomatoes, anchovy and brown butter which was insane, and the branzino which comes salt baked with caramelized lemon. Yesterday for lunch we had crispy artichokes with fresh lemon, perfectly crispy but not oily. The ricotta with grapefruit, extra virgin olive oil and pistachios, also delicious. And the panini with grilled kale, strachiotello cheese and anchovy was gooey greatness. 

Do not leave without get the salted caramel gelato, you will not regret it!

Go here. Then come back again. And again. And again. It's a winner. 

Neighborhood: Noho, Bowery 

Good For: Lunch, Dinner, Drinks, Date spot (though you may get communal table)

Bite Mark: ****

Il Buco Alimentari; 53 Great Jones Street bet. Lafayette & Bowery 212-837-2622

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Pines

I was really excited for this one. It's not too far from where I live (always a plus) and I imagined it being one of those places we go back to time and time again.
The place has kind of a run down feel in a way like they did it on purpose. The outdoor space looks like it would be amazing come spring time. Service was friendly, and chef seemed super accommodating to alter some menu options for us.
I wanted to love it. But to be honest, the food was just ok. I ordered the Verano Cesar to drink with tequila, hibiscus, cucumber, lime, soda, and loved it. We also loved the candied tangerine amuse (who doesn't like that bite size surprise). And the breads with caraway butter and cured olives started the meal off nice.
I heard a lot about the apples with Sheep's milk, hibiscus and black sesame seeds going in but I didn't love the flavors. The Sweet Potato with buttermilk, hearts of palm and tobiko were probably the best thing we got, and the jicama I'd probably also skip if I ever came back. Next came the Garganelli (pasta) with mushrooms and straciatella and tile fish. The pasta was good, but I'd never had this fish before and found it to be a little too meaty tasting to my liking.
Oh and one more thing. They only take cash (although there's an ATM inside).

All in all, decent neighborhood spot, I'd probably go back and just have drinks and sit outside.

Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Gowanus 

Good For: drinks, outdoor space

Bite Mark: ** & a half

The Pines; 284 3rd Ave bet Carroll & President St, Gowanus 718-596-6560

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Brooklyn Central

Last Sunday we took the kiddies to Brooklyn Central, a new pizza spot in the heart of Park Slope. The food wasn't life changing, but it was good, and it worked. The place had a warm, fall, comfy vibe with a nice brick oven, and a gourd as decoration on each table. The waitress was sweet and fast, the service was excellent, the food was decent, and they are conveniently located across the street from the 5th Ave park. All the makings for a perfect for a neighborhood spot. We had the Doc with tomato, mozzarella and basil, the Black Widow pie with mozzarella, mushrooms, herbs, black garlic, and scallions, and a kale salad with candied nuts, citrus, and parmesan.

Neighborhood: Brooklyn, Park Slope

Good For: Kid friendly, brunch, lunch

Bite Mark: *** (2 for the food, 1 for the nice vibe & great service)

Brooklyn Central; 289 5th Ave bet 1st & 2nd st, Park Slope 347-725-4891

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Tickets Bar

Going in, this is all I knew:

1. Tickets Bar is the brainchild of acclaimed chef Feran Adria, whose restaurant "El Bulli", located 4 hours from Barcelona, is often referred to as the BEST restaurant in the world. Yes, the world.

2. El Bulli is now closed, but there is a more casual, tapas style bar right in town, serving some of the signature dishes that made El Bulli so famous.
3. Heart pounding, fingers shaking, 2 months prior to the day, at precisely 12:00 Barcelona time, somehow I was able to secure a reservation for 4 people for Saturday evening at 10pm for the weekend that I would be in Barcelona.

The place is really casual. This was my first surprise. I kind of expected fireworks to go off upon entry, but this was not the case. Not fancy, not stuffy, just cool. Colorful posters adorned the wall, casual bar style tables and chairs, and waiters inconspicuous yet spot on. The crowd was upscale, but hip, a mixture of foodies, locals, and the occasional foodie tourist (such as myself). You did not stumble in here by accident. A reservation at Tickets is extremely difficult to secure and much coveted (even my taxi driver was impressed), and I definitely felt an air of pride and anticipation as I was seated.

The waiter was wonderfully attentive, and after explaining some of the dietary restrictions my friends and I have, he said not to worry, just sit back relax, and enjoy the show....

First came the emulsified liquid olives. This is what it is all about. They are liquid in form, carefully spooned from a jar at the table, and served on a spoon. You are then instructed to swish it around and let it explode on the roof of your mouth. All I can say is WOW. How is this even possible?
Next came grilled bread with tomato and anchovy, don't even bother saying you don't like anchovies, just taste it.

Tempura seaweed with a dipping sauce. Incredible. Course after course we were subjected to perfection on a plate. Mini airbags stuffed with manchego cheese. Another winner.

Tuna tartare nori cones. Not to overstate the issue, but again, one of the best things I've even eaten. It was like every bite we took was so filled with SO much flavor. You can taste all the complex flavors, and appreciate all the advanced techniques that go into every bite.

Canrejal cheese torta with wild mushroom cream. My friends called this a mozze-crepa on crack. Hah. We actually asked for a 2nd helping of this one.Seabass ceviche. Crispy seaweed. Delicious. Tuna belly. Slivered artichokes with pecorino. Cod. SO GOOD. Mushrooms. Black currant with white chocolate dessert that I wouldn't even know where to begin to describe...It just didn't stop, and we didn't want it to.

Truly a meal I will remember for the rest of my life.

Worth a trip to Barcelona, just to visit Tickets.

Good For: Special occasion, once in a lifetime experience, life altering food

Bite Mark: *****

Tickets Bar; Avinguda de Paralel, 164 Barcelona