Farraday had the quintessential British welcome when I approached his booth at last month’s Fancy Food Show. With a mix of excitement and proper malaise he asked if i had ever tasted wasabi mayo as I starred at what looked like a bunch of interesting chutneys. Pre-occupied I sort of blew off the question with a yes which triggered Farraday to turn up the volume and swear I had never tasted anything as smooth and balanced as his. Focused in now on his Surinamese chutney, his increased decibels punched me into attention. I did try the unique and satisfying Surinamese chutney but the Wasabi & Mango Mayo was the show stopper. He was right about the balance and texture being the best I’ve ever tasted. The wasabi levels were just right. So perfect just some dipped veggies is the way to consume this killer product. Sad news is he doesn’t have US distribution yet so a pop over the pond is the only way to get his treats right now.
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Impossible to drop into Montreal without some David McMillan and Frédéric Morin touchpoint. This trip, it was snacks and drinks at their newish wine bar Le Vin Papillon and some Joe Beef Butcher’s Blend. This souvenir was acquired at a local market in the Westmount proving that the Joe Beef dynasty reaches far from the humble, pioneering roots of Little Burgundy into even the shishiest of Anglo-Quebec ‘hoods. As it should.
Achaar is Indian pickles. Besides the puntastic name of the company, Chitra Agrawal and Ben Garthus make a delicious version of this Indian staple. No joke my Indian mother-in-law raved the entire time she cleaned out the jar. We’ve been smearing it on everything from sandwiches to fish. Word is a new flavor is in the works. You can pick up a jar in Brooklyn, obviously, bt there distribution is expanding quickly. Non-Brooklynites rejoice at one of these locations.
We never thought of putting garam masala on cold greens either but a few nights ago we were treated to such a salad. A sprinkle of this quintessential Indian mixture onto crispy fresh fennel, juicy grapefruit supremes and the occasional candied ginger, worked better than I would have ever guessed in making our tastebuds dance. With a bit further investigation (Raiding our friend’s pantry) we discovered this triad of masalas from the late, great chef Floyd Cardoz in collaboration with Burlap and Barrel. Chef Cardoz passed from complications of COVID-19 in March 2020 but left a legacy through his compassion, teachings and artifacts, like these spices. Burlap and Barrel partners directly with small farmers to source spices that have never been available in the US before and help improve the livelihoods of their partner farmers. This collab was no exception. Working with Chef Cardoz’s wife and business partner Barkha Cardoz, as a memorial to his love for the cuisines of India and his passion for sharing them with the world, the three masalas are uniquely different but all Chef Cardoz. The garam masala is floral, sweet and aromatic. Second in the trifecta, the Goan masala has an earthy, pungent, gingery complexity flavor profile. Lastly, the Kashmiri masala brings the heat with a fennel, ginger and aromatic profile anchored by the Kashmiri chili. Aside from being great on your favorite greens, this trifector collection is a fantastic way to pay homage and connect with a chef who made a huge impact on the culinary world.
Today’s the day of atonement. I only know this as an honorary member of “the tribe” having sat through my fair share of Yom Kippur dinners. This is the meal that breaks the fast of the past 24 hours. This was the day that sent all my Jewish friends home from soccer practice early to beat sundown in high school. The thing is, my jew crew didn’t really do the fasting part very well BUT they definitely did the breaking part excellently. The typical Jewish cuisine gets a poor rep. This, under the trained taste buds, is a falsely perpetuated opinion perhaps the same way Portlanders say it’s always grey in Stumptown. For context and as a case in point, I’ve sampled some incredible homemade gefilte fish that can go toe to toe with any cultural cuisine. To this end, Jewish food needs better press and a little more marketing oomph to jump the hurdle into main stream. Ashley Albert is spearheading the effort with her artisanal matzo company from Brooklyn, The Matzo Project. Salted, cinnamon or everything (as in bagel) are your delicious choices. You can’t pick wrong. We’ve tasted them all. You might be asking why I didn’t post this last week. That’s the point you should be stocking this year round. Eating it instead of chips or Triscuits. Plus, those of you who partake in the festivities, you’ve got Sukkot in five days. Stock up.