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Bark Butter: Why Every Hot Dog Needs a Little More Pork Fat

Our VideosBy Liza de Guia on Feb 1, 2012
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“We’re in New York. We have dirty water dogs. But, I’ll be honest, I don’t love a boiled hot dog. I’ll probably never eat one again.”

Meet Josh Sharkey, the co-founder/owner of Bark Hot Dogs, a sustainable fast food restaurant in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Josh believes there are two main aspects to a great hot dog:   1) It’s got to have great snap – and great snap comes from great casing. Bark Hot Dogs uses sheep casing. It’s all natural and develops that perfect hot dog snap when cooked. 2) You have to use good meat – and good meat comes from good farms. Bark takes pride in sourcing high quality pork products from Heritage Foods USA and all natural beef from Meyer Natural Angus, a certified organic farm in Colorado. To ensure customers can really taste and appreciate the meat that they’re eating, they keep meat cuts down to a minimum, using only pork shoulder, pork jowl and beef shoulder to craft their artisan hot dogs. So, as long as you have those two elements, you’re guaranteed a great hot dog. Josh is sure of it. But, then again, Josh isn’t interested in just a great hot dog, he wants the BEST hot dog, and to get the best hot dog, they use a special, homemade dressing they call: Bark Butter.

Bark Butter is a savory, super smoky, house made lard butter that just so happens to contain lots and lots of smoked pork fat. They coat every hot dog with it, just seconds before placing it into the bun. It’s not listed on their menu. They rarely even mention it at the restaurant. But, it’s their little trick that puts their hot dogs in another class – that last punch of rich pork flavor that makes you wonder why these hot dogs taste so good.

So, go on then, watch my fun little video and see how the REAL secret to a great hot dog gets crafted! It’ll make you want to head to Brooklyn to taste the difference yourself. I highly recommend trying the bacon cheddar dog, the kraut dog, the briny, full of crunch, pickle dog, a side of gravy fries and a chocolate salted caramel shake. Don’t be shy with the housemade condiments. And, if you have room, definitely get the pork burger – which, of course, has Bark Butter in it too! Fast food the way fast food should be.

Bark Hot Dogs: 474 Bergen Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy, snappy eating! And cheers to Josh for living the American Dream (wink, wink). :)

 

Jo Snow Syrups: Adding a Little Fun to Your Coffees, Cocktails, Sodas & Snow Cones

Our VideosBy Liza de Guia on Jan 5, 2012
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“I thought it would be all the kids that would be loving it, but it was the adults! It was the adults who kept coming.”

Meet Melissa Yen, who just so happens to answer to the name: Jo Snow. Melissa is the founder and senior syrup slinger behind Jo Snow Syrups, a small-batch, artisan syrup company based in Chicago, IL.

Melissa is a self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur. All her life she’s started and stopped businesses with none ever really clicking until now. For her, Jo Snow Syrups is the first business she’s ever technically mastered. She makes syrups for a living. That’s her job – boiling and bottling up to 500 syrup bottles a week. She’s good at it. Really good at it – which is great because she’s always, always, ALWAYS wanted to own a food brand.

I found Melissa through a little investigating before my Chicago trip a few weeks back. I put out a few feelers to food folks I knew who lived in the area, letting them know I was spending an extra day during my travels to, hopefully, film a story. I got a lot of good responses, lots of interesting artisans were thrown my way. But, time after time, Jo Snow Syrups just kept coming up in conversation. And when a name gets mentioned that much, my general feeling is, the product has to be pretty damn good. So, I took a leap of faith and booked my story, blindly, without ever tasting it.

Well, who exactly knows how serendipity works, but Melissa ended up being that perfect kind of artisan I love to film: passionate, creative, fun, and full of life and energy. An artisan who truly loves what they do. An artisan who makes a product I’m excited to talk about. These syrups are incredible. The flavors are thought-provoking and interesting on the palate. They wake your senses, and make coffees and cocktails and sodas way more fun than you think they would.

So, go ahead, try it. I just dare you to have some fun!!

Jo Snow Syrups Current List of Flavors:

  • Soda Pop Flavors: Cola #6, Sass! Root Beer, Kickin’ Cream Soda
  • Coffee Flavors: Cafe de Olla, Fig Vanilla Black Pepper, Cardamom Rose Water (my favorite)
  • Fruity Flavors: Hibiscus Basil Orange Blossom, Ginger Passion Fruit, Tangerine Lavender Honey

Thanks so much for watching food. curated. I truly appreciate all the support and notes of encouragement while I took a little time off of storytelling these past few months. But now, I’m back. And I’m ready for a whole new season of storytelling. So stay tuned because I’ve got so many fun things to show you in 2012… Happy Drinking!

 

OMG Side Dish Recipes for the Holidays!

Blog PostsBy Liza de Guia on Dec 22, 2011
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This week, I helped JoinBklyn, a hip arts and culture blog, pull together a pretty impressive selection of my favorite side dish and appetizer recipe ideas called OMG Sides for their 2011 Holiday GuideTake a peek! There are ideas for meat lovers, seafood lovers and veggie lovers too! The recipes come from artisans I’ve featured in my video stories, in addition to one from my dad. You know, because what’s the holidays without family.

Hope you enjoy! Below is a short list of the OMG Sides you’ll find:

Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones! And thanks so much for supporting and watching food. curated. this year. We’re excited for a whole new season of passion-filled food stories for 2012. So stay tuned!

Hurricane Irene Aftermath: The Story of Maple Downs Farm

Our VideosBy Liza de Guia on Sep 27, 2011
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“I didn’t have time to think about being scared.”

On August 28th, hundreds of farms in upstate New York were destroyed by massive floods caused by Hurricane Irene. No one predicted the flood water would come as quickly as it did, nor the amount of water and force that accompanied it. This is one farmer’s story: Meet David and Denise Lloyd of Maple Downs Farm, a small dairy farm in Middleburgh, NY.

David & Denise have been farming all their life. They make a living raising heritage breed Holstein cattle to supply not just fresh local dairy to our markets, but prized genetics across the world. The day of the hurricane, they lost everything: crops, cattle, equipment, homes. Right now, they are just trying to survive.

Last week, I drove three and a half hours upstate to tell their story because I know that New York City wasn’t spared by the hurricane. When you think about it, this is farmland that feeds New York, farmers that work the land and tend to their animals so we all can eat locally. If these farms don’t recover, we will see direct implications on our plates. Again, this is just one story of hundreds out there. I’ll do my best to bring you more stories over the next few weeks. And if you’re interested in helping out in any way, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me. I’d love to help organize something.

**A big thanks to Dean Sparks (@OrganicNYmilk1) for helping me to get access to these farmers. Dean knows quite a bit about what has happened to farms in that area, so feel free to contact him too with any questions.

Thanks so much for watching food. curated.! Support our area farmers by shopping at the greenmarkets!

 

The Perfect Bite: A Competitive Home Cook, 150 Cod Tongues & A Passion for New Nordic Cuisine

Our VideosBy Liza de Guia on Sep 15, 2011
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Meet, Erin Evenson, a legal assistant for an international law firm by day, and an award-winning competitive home cook by nights and weekends in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Erin is a self-proclaimed “food dork”. She buries her nose in cookbooks and happily spends 100% of her spare time day-dreaming, crafting and developing recipes to compete with. But not just any recipes, her specialty is giving dishes a New Nordic, Scandinavian twist – adding a little love and respect for her family’s heritage into every main stage battle, hoping to expose more people to a cuisine she’s passionate about. Erin will compete this weekend at the Food Experiments National Championship in Brooklyn, pitting competition-craving home cooks from across the country against each other for an all out “perfect bite” cook-off.

I found Erin through Theo Peck, a co-founder of the Food Experiments. Sniffing out a story, I asked him if there was a “team to beat”, and Erin Evenson first came to mind. He told me she’s quite a character, a seasoned competitor who makes the most amazing, interesting and compelling dishes – and for the championship, she somehow sourced 150 Atlantic cod tongues from a commercial fisherman in Bay Ridge. Well, ladies and gents, that’s all I needed to know.

I met with Erin this past Sunday at her apartment, and filmed as she was testing out batches of her seafood concept. Immediately, I was touched by the utter merriment she brings to the kitchen: “Moreso than anything, what I learned from that very first competition I entered in 2006, the joy is feeding someone and making them happy, and it’s absolutely, first and foremost, my intent when I cook this food.” So enjoy this sweet, little peek into the life of a competitive home cook.  She’s confident. She’s serious. And, man oh man, can she do mean things with cod tongues.

Thanks so much for watching and supporting food. curated.! Telling stories is my passion. Happy Eating!