It’s no secret that I’m a cookbook hoarder. Every time I try to “declutter” my collection I end up tossing one or two books, only to replace them with another three or four. But it’s the cookbooks that stay in my collection, the ones with dog-tailed pages and olive oil spilled across the pages that hold a special place in my heart. After owning it for just a few weeks, The New Greenmarket Cookbook easily earned a treasured place. Written by Gabrielle Langholtz, the book features 100 recipes that celebrates each and every season.
If you’ve never heard me rave about Bill Telepan or his namesake restaurant, Telepan, you obviously haven’t been reading this blog for long enough. It was Mr. Telepan’s approach to food that drew me to his restaurant–his commitment to local food, sustainability and frequent trips to the NYC greenmarkets inspired me–but it was the menu he created, impeccable wine pairings and reasonably priced luxury that kept me there. At that time a much younger young professional, I was excited to be able to celebrate with great company and a wonderful meal without breaking the bank. You can imagine my excitement when I learned last summer he would be opening a second location. Telepan Local promised to share the same farm to table values but in a more casual, small plates type setting. It was first promised to open in late Fall, then right around Christmas, and finally January. Those 6 months of anticipation where absolute torture.
The Bay Ridge restaurant scene is much like a revolving door. Mediocre pubs and bars magically pop up and mysteriously disappear a few months later, going out as quietly as they went in. A bright new sign hangs above the vacant storefront promising a new and better restaurant. What bothers me most is seeing a new place open and unsuccessfully racking my brain for the memory of what sat there just 6 weeks earlier. Then there are the places that come and stay, breathing new life into the current food scene, something different from just another pub. I’m hoping Brooklyn Beet Company is a keeper.
Blue Hill at Stone Barns is the ultimate locavore dining experience. You can’t get much more local than picking harvesting vegetables and herbs right behind the restaurant or roasting the pig that grazes just a few hundred feet away. The restaurant has no menus, no specials of the day. Your meal is guided by what’s in season and what’s fresh. A welcome “journal” greets you with lists of what’s in season and how the dining experience works. For dinner, you have a choice of 5, 8 or 12 courses. The amount of food is fairly consistent across all three meals. Selecting a higher number of courses is simply a way to try more ingredients and different preparations. I’ve dined at Blue Hill twice. Different seasons, different company, different experiences completely.
I loved to cook before Top Chef came around. I was never a fan of cooking shows. The food network annoys me. Sure they’re some good recipes out there, but how can you really learn to make a 4 hour braise (with sides!) in a 27 minute episode. The shows would just frustrate me. But when Top Chef came along, I was immediately hooked. Top Chef doesn’t teach you how to make a recipe, it inspires you to think out of the box, to consider what you would make if faced with some saltine crackers and a piece of fish. Or what dishes would best describe you? Watching the show definitely encouraged me to play with flavors and invent new dishes.