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Escape the City: Bell & Anchor, A Little Bit of Brooklyn in the Berkshires

Our VideosBy Liza de Guia on Jun 27, 2013
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“I just want to eat well and keep it unpretentious.” 

Meet Mark Firth, the owner and chief farmhand of the Bell & Anchor, a farm to table restaurant located up in Great Barrington, MA. I came to the Berkshires looking to get away from the city – to get out into nature and get a little closer to my food source. Mark, a long time Brooklyn resident, had the same idea a few years back. Except, once he discovered the Berkshires, he knew he’d found his home.

I met Mark at a James Beard House Cure-All dinner in NYC last winter, and was impressed with a lot of the food being showcased by chefs in his area.  The dinner pretty much inspired my week-long road trip. I wanted to see for myself what restaurants were up to upstate, to see the caliber of food coming out of small towns known for the farm-to-table movement; towns that also supply NYC and Boston with a lot of farmed meat and produce. To say the least, I was impressed. The creativity, the inspiration, the passion were all there; added to that, a sense of camaraderie between all the farms and restaurants – a real sense of community around food.  I filmed at a couple of restaurants that you’ll get to know over these next few weeks – some thick with history, some riding on new ideas. I hope it inspires you to escape the city. There’s a level of excitement building amongst all the chefs I met, you could sense it, you could see that summer was everyone’s favorite food season.

So, enjoy this little piece on the Bell & Anchor. Mark co-founded two of my favorite restaurants in my Brooklyn ‘hood: Diner and Marlow & Sons. He has a knack for creating very special spaces. And the food by Chef Stephen Browning is as comforting as food can get. I think the shot of the burger in the video, visually, says it all.

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy Eating!

Sky Ice: Daring New Flavors in Ice Cream

Our VideosBy Liza de Guia on Jun 18, 2013
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“I make ice cream for two reasons: I want to introduce these wonderful things we have in Asia and in Thailand to people, and I also miss these flavors. So, I make them because I miss them too.”

Meet Sutheera Denprapa, the ice cream designer and co-owner of Sky Ice, a small, artisan, all-natural ice cream shop based in Park Slope, Brooklyn. When Sutheera was a young girl, she hoped her parents would one day own an ice cream shop. That was her day dream, her little kid wish. It also tells you just how much she loves the stuff. As her husband, Jonathan explained, “few people are as passionate as Sutheera on ice cream”. I believe it. Get her talking about new flavors she’s inventing, and she could go on and on.

I came across Sky Ice on a food message board one day last fall, someone was flipping out over an ice cream flavor they’d just tried, and it immediately piqued my interest: Sky Ice Black Sesame Seaweed. As soon as the words rolled off my tongue, I was half way out the door ready to taste it. It seemed so daring – such a curious, savory idea for a flavor. And I had to know it. I had to understand it. So off to Park Slope I went, to this little, corner ice cream shop that smelled, oddly, like Thai food.

Sky Ice, you see, doubles as a Thai restaurant, explaining the scent confusion and the unique flavor selection: lychee rose, mangosteen, Thai iced tea, Thai coffee, toasted coconut, cherry blossoms and green curry, to name a few. They even carried a hard to find durian flavor – the fruit my Filipino mom says, “smells like hell and tastes like heaven”. Right away, you understood that someone making the ice cream had roots, a more tropical taste vision. A new take on flavors based on a childhood somewhere far away. This wasn’t going to be a normal ice cream experience. This was something different. And it was Sutheera’s plan all along.

So enjoy her story! Some new flavors that’ll blow you away: wasabi peanut butter, dark chocolate campfire and their white miso with sliced almonds, you won’t want to miss. Definitely my new favorite ice cream shop. I hope you make it out there!

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy eating!

 

Amuse Bouche: One Tough Cookie’s TOP 5 Cookies in NYC

Blog PostsBy Liza de Guia on Jun 7, 2013
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“I eat a lot of cookies. I KNOW cookies.” -Gail Dosik

For a little treat today, I thought it might be nice to hear from THE Tough Cookie about her favorite cookies in New York City. Enjoy hunting these down:

1: Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Chip Cookie. Hands down, my favorite make myself feel better, reward myself, hey, I’m just walking past Jacques Torres’ place kind of cookie. It’s the right ratio of crisp/chewy, dough/chocolate chunks, sweet/salty.  And, it’s more than just 3 bites.  It’s practically a meal, if cookies were a meal, of course.  I vote this THE best chocolate chip cookie in NYC.

2. Beurre & Sel’s Classic Jammers.  I count myself among the legions of Dorie Greenspan fans, so I’m THRILLED that she and her son Josh now have a place where I can run and pick up a sleeve of her delightful jammers. A jammer is more than a cookie, it’s more like an individual fruit tart of sorts, with a crispy bottom cookie covered with delicious fruit jam and topped with a buttery streusel.

3. Bien Cuit’s Almond cookie. One of the most delicate, buttery, almondy, delicious tea cookies I’ve ever had. It reminds me of cookies that a family friend would bring us…Windmill cookies, but only 10x better. This sophisticated little gem deserves to be served alongside a lovely cup of freshly brewed tea, with each bite slowly savored.

4. Sarabeth’s Chocolate Chubbies. Chocolatey and nutty, not really a brownie, not really a cookie. And that suits me just fine.

5. Momofuku Milk Bar’s Corn Cookie. I know you thought I’d say Compost Cookie, but for me, the Corn Cookie is so different that I adore it. Sweet, but salty (best cookies are always sweet and a little salty), with a fantastic chewy texture.  It’s as though a really good corn muffin was turned into a cookie. Sheer perfection.

A Decorated Cookie You Won’t Want to Spit Out: One Tough Cookie

Our VideosBy Liza de Guia on Jun 3, 2013
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“My cookies are better than ordinary. It’s a decorated cookie an adult wants to eat.”

Meet Gail Dosik, the founder and cookie aficionado behind One Tough Cookie, a specialty, decorated cookie baking business based in New York City. Gail is a walking talking cookie library of sorts. Ask her anything about cookies, and she could talk to you for hours. She’s one of those people who has to know anything and everything about cookies. No cookies go unturned with her, if you ask me, and I think that’s why her cookies are so great. She does the research.

So, over 8 years ago, when she decided to launch her own decorated cookie company, after spending over 25 years in the fashion industry, you can bet she started with really high standards…for herself most of all. Gail explained to me that there really are only a handful of people in the city who do decorated cookies right, 5-6 well-known cookie makers of her pedigree. When I asked, then, what makes hers extra unique, she was quick to say that of all the decorated cookies out there, she knows her recipe “is the best” in flavor and texture. It’s a pretty cookie, you won’t spit out. In fact, you’ll eat the cookie and kinda nudge Gail for another, like me.

I had a hoot of a time filming with Gail, mostly because, I liked that she called me: Toots. You’ll love her not only because she’s got a healthy serving of New York sass, but also because she’s got a ton of heart. So enjoy the video! Have fun getting lost in cookie world.

To work with Gail to design your own personal cookie or “cookies on cake” for a loved one, for your kids, for an event or holiday, please visit her website One Tough Cookie.

Thanks so much for watching and supporting food. curated.! Happy cookie eating!

The Best Summer Treats: Joseph Leonard’s Fried Chicken Sandwich

Our VideosBy Liza de Guia on May 16, 2013
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“A good fried chicken comes down to being seasoned all the way through the meat. Ours is more than an 11 herbs and spices recipe.”

Come see a behind-the-scenes peek into the prep work and concepts behind some of the unique foods offered at The Great GoogaMooga food and music festival this weekend in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Meet the cast at Joseph Leonard, a West Village neighborhood restaurant claiming to have perfected the fried chicken sandwich. This one’s got quite the crunch too. I hope you’re hungry… Enjoy! I’ll see you at the festival.

Thanks for watching food. curated.! Happy eating!