We first wrote about Chitra Agrawal when we discovered her Brooklyn Delhi products. Since then she’s been up to a lot more than just jarring delicious pickled things from India. Her latest edition to your Indian food education comes in book form with Vibrant India. South Indian cooking is not the Indian dishes that commonly pop to mind for us Americans. Having a South Indian mother-in-law has schooled me on these flavorful and light regional tastes. Chitra draws from her mother’s cooking bringing Bangalore all the way to Brooklyn where she adds her own twists to these vegetarian classics. I’ve often proclaimed, “I could go full vegetarian.” after eating at my in-laws for a weekend. As a pretty serious carnivore, that says a lot about her book and the deliciousness potential. Point is, there’s something for everyone in this book. Vegan, vegetarians, paleo or carnivore the flavors and simplicity will swoon you. We promise.
Now that we’re officially moving to Queens, there’s nothing we love more than a celebration of all things Brooklyn. Held in the new epicenter of Brooklyn making culture (Industry City), the eight-hour Best of Brooklyn Festival is a roundup of everything from craft beer to artisanal food to indie music to the best of Brooklyn product makers. That last one might not be true but the festival organizers tout “in-the-know finds”. We interpreted that as “stuff”. Tickets run you 30 bucks without upgrades. Early entry, a book and after party perks drive ‘em up to $125. Depending on how thick your beard or how colorful your jumper will determine what the necessary spend will be for you. No matter what your choice, ALL the BK bests will be in one giant, industrial, hard to get to space. Make the trip, the line-up will not disappoint.
Old World Jewish cuisine and delicious usually don’t make it into the same sentence. That’s why when we read “A culinary laboratory where Ashkenazi stories and culinary wisdom from the Old World could be explored and brought into the new.” we immediately wanted to know who said it and why. Turns out Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern are not only behind the statement but behind a dinner series, product line and cookbook dedicated to keeping this slice of culture alive. Speaking of slices, tonight of all nights is the perfect time for a slice of the Gefilteria cornerstone product. Artisan Gefilte fish made where else BUT in Brooklyn. The duo now bring Gefilteria goods to you online and through some specialty shops in NYC. Bring a loaf to your holiday parties and keep the new traditions alive.
We haven’t been this excited about milk since we discovered Frosted Flakes in 1982. 100 years ago the Shatto family started raising cattle. In 2003 they decided to start making their own milk and then cheese, then, butter, cookies, ice cream and now juice. They also decided to brand everything with an irreverent and slightly off utter humor. They developed a list of core values for their brandd and then punned the hell out of them. Lines like, “No hormones. Yes Whey.” and “Udder to store. Under 24.” We love everything about the Shatto Milk Company but mainly their milk. It’s a testament to a pure and best-in-class, raw ingredient being the cornerstone of so many other products. In the case of the Shatto family, that means their OWN products. Ohh right, and they brought back the milkman too. OMG. Yes. My Frosted Flakes will never be the same. Now, if I only lived in Kansas City.
Food and Christmas go hand in hand. With the current slobbering over all things edible, it’s no wonder the food ornament game has stepped up to the plate and started hitting homers. No better place to snap up one of these winners than Terrain, the Urban Outfitters folks take on outdoor stuff. This Glass Tomato Ornament is one of our favs because it’s a building block of many recipes and a beautifully simple summer fruit we rarely get to see in winter. Hanging off our tree we want to puree them up and make a red sauce for our raviolo but that would make for a disaster. Obviously, made for memories, there glass vegetable line is meant to remind us how good the real thing is and wait for summer. That’s cool, we’re asking for heirloom seed for Christmas.
Full disclosure on this holiday gift reco. We’re tight with the Barking Irons guys. Help you move. Treat you to dinner. Bail you out of jail kind of tight. Disclosure aside, let’s talk delicious unique Americana history. With Barking Irons Applejack at the root of this story, we guarantee happiness under the tree. Or under those gold multi-candle holders. We digress, this spirit is the OG. Meaning, the British and Spanish sailed over to America. They couldn’t find the usual things to make booze from. They found a crap load of apples. “Jacking”, A freeze distillation process to increase the alcohol content, became a thing. They aptly named it Applejack. Boom, the first indigenous American liquor was born. Quick side note, we are by no means stepping over Haren A Pitahaya, the Apache and Maricopa saguaro cactus wine but Applejack was the first “modern” American spirit. Since then, most of us have forgotten about this story and the product it produced. The guys at Phear Creative thankfully have not. They put into production the first new Applejack option since Laird’s in 1780. What does all this mean? You can gift (yourself if you are so bold) not only a unique addition to ones home bar BUT a historical reference and story to go along with all the fabled Santa Claus tales.
We’re big fans of things that are born from passion and experience. Bittermilk is such a product. The married founders, Joe and MariElena Raya, have been tweaking on their version of the perfect elixir for years. We love their line “The labor is in the bottle.” This makes everyone an ace bartender by just adding your favorite spirit. That’s something that come sin handy during the holidays. Your “host with the most” status gets dialed up with a Bittermilk secret behind the bar. Try the limited edition No.7 Yuletide Old Fashioned before the seasons all gone.
Donuts have seem to take over the food world momentarily. Perhaps its the unbridled holiday eating that’s pumped up the nostalgic hole sweet treat. Peter Pan was just named best donut shop in NYC. That’s a nod to the ways of old over the newer artisanal makers. Point is, we can’t get enough of donuts…apparently. Lines outside of Dough. Cream filling fountains at Doughnut Dolly. Even politically correct examples at Federal Donuts. It makes sense that we’d want to wear them on our feet if we could. Now, for better or worse, we can. Sukeno Doughnut Socks will provide you this thrill. Even better when you get dressed each morning it will appear the donut fairy left you a secret fresh batch. Have fun with this. What’s next Munchkin gloves. Just sayin’.
With a week left to meet their goal, The Bierbox crew is trying to bring the beauty of 5 gallons of beer and the art of the nuances of hops and barley to your front door. Every three months they release a new recipe. This takes the guess work, and fear that your home brew will suck after all the work, out of the equation. The co-founders know their stuff having been in the home brew game for almost a decade. They are also supported by the awesomely, smart folks at Brooklyn Kitchen. With that deck of contributors you’re delivered a royal flush every time a box arrives. More proof? They made this history of beer infographic and a comprehensive homebrewing guide. Get knowledge. Buy beer (making kits).
Wait! Don’t go shopping today. Wait until tomorrow. Same goes for eating or at least eating out. Regular readers of FT know we’re buddies with The Infatuation crew. What you might now know is we’re equally long term fans of American Express. That’s why this collab was a must post for us. Plus, It’s innately a good thing to do. The Infatuation has curated some of the best deals on the Shop Small American Express site to get you both great (in many cases, hard to get) food while helping your local small biz stay in business. The team is hosting #DineSmall events at some of their favorite local restaurants in NYC, LA, DC, San Diego, Chicago and San Fran. Stay tuned November 26th as they open up the ticket sales. Saturday, November 26th from 3-6pm in various cities.
Thanksgiving can be rough if your family lives far from the hustle we call home. Thankfully there’s tons of alternative families available to belly up next to and enjoy a feast that rivals the family back home. In fact, it might even be better given the family drama is organically removed from the equation. One of our favorites is Greenpoint Beer and Ale’s Orphans’ Thanksgiving. Now in it’s fourth year, a meal and a movie are included with every ticket. A dessert potluck is part of the evening so bring a winner. If that wasn’t enough, $10 from each ticket will be donated to The Greenpoint Soup Kitchen. Thursday, November 24, 5PM – 11PM in Brooklyn.
Who doesn’t want to roll up to Thanksgiving with a gallon of whey? Protein brined in protein might be a little bit of a change for you but The White Moustache claims it produces one of the juiciest birds you can cook. With their order only Whey Turkey Brine you can be the hero of the table. Add on some of their other products to accompany and you have apps and desserts covered as well. We’ve been big fans of their labneh and yogurt for years now. This annual item only adds to our obsession of their truly small batch products.
You know we love lemons. You know we love Italy. You know we love local food makers. All those hearts collided in Amsterdam of all places. While poking around De Hallen mesmerized at all the incredible, local, makers we found Bello Limoncello. The svelte, frosted bottle and clean, bold graphic triggered our pavlovian response to hipsterized old world classics. Considering my 89 year old uncles high octane version of citrus aperitif, this mustache adorned version gave me hope for a sipable post meal drink that augments instead of memory erases the completed meal that proceeds the ritual. Started by two Dutch buddies on a trip to Italy, it’s now quite the craze in Amsterdam. Their description is perfect so we’ll just cut and paste this perfect explanation. “A high-quality drink for the highly ambitious. Produced with Italian maschismo and Amsterdam bravoure.” Boss. Right? Their IG is pretty dope too. Check it. We’re hoping it makes it to the states soon but if you just can’t wait, like us, you can get it online.
We had a few days in Berlin. I hit a few of my old 2006 haunts but also discovered a new and vibrant food scene. Yes in the restaurants but more so in the community. Case in point is Sarah Go’s Feast Meetups. She aims to bring together “foodpreneurs”. She welcomes food designers, trend researchers, editors and gastronomy makers to connect and collaborate on all aspects of the culinary industry booming across the globe. Berlin’s no stranger to creativity, innovation and change. With those two backgrounds, I’m sure her next meetup and Feast’s mission will foster this culinary community well. We, unfortunately, didn’t get to hook up with Sarah while in town but if you live in Berlin or are planning a visit, check out the calendar and pop into an event. The last one was a viewing on ‘The Chef’s Mind’ with snacks. No “brainer” right?