I first tasted Brooklyn Commune’s food at a benefit event. Surrounded by elegant, over-thought dishes, Brooklyn Commune stood apart with shots of tomato soup accompanied by bites of bacon grilled cheese sandwiches. The soup was essential to cut the chill of the cold rainy day and the crisp, buttery sandwich bite melted in my mouth. How had I never heard of this place? Where was it located? Park Slope or Cobble Hill—it had to be one of those. But no, it was a neighborhood foreign to me, Windsor Terrace, down by the southern tip of Prospect Park. I was absolutely determined to find a reason to explore my newly discovered neighborhood, and more importantly, see what else Brooklyn Commune had in store for me. If a sip of soup and bite of sandwich could pack so much flavor, just imagine what was bursting from the walls of a whole restaurant.
I am done cooking for the year! Sad and nice at the same time. We’ll be traveling to visit more family for the rest of the year and heading out for New Year’s Eve. So after making pizza this evening, I am not expected to cook ANYTHING until New Year’s Day. And yes, that even includes preparing a bowl of oatmeal.
While I love cooking, it is fun to get a break. This year I’ve cooked a lot and tried to blog about most experiments and even some failures. I had a lot of extra time during the summer, and as a result my pantry is overflowing. Who knows what I’ll achieve next year. I have started thinking about a sort of “bucket list” as to what food goals I’d like to achieve in 2013, but until then, let’s have one last 2012 recipe hurrah with you, the readers’ favorite recipes of the year and a few additions of my own.
As a locavore, I love to cook local foods, but more importantly I like to eat it. Sometimes it’s nice to have someone else do the cooking for you, right? And in Brooklyn, there’s so many great restaurants, focusing on local food, humanely raised meats and fish and seasonal ingredients, so why not?
The other night, my husband and I went to Apartment 138 in Boerum Hill. It looks pretty similar to most of the chic “New American” restaurants that line Smith Street, but step inside and you’re in for a treat. I was first intrigued by the pot of pickles. They were just that. A mason jar filled with garlicky, sour house cured pickles. That plus some Truffle Mac & Cheese made with NY state cheddar was the perfect starter for my husband and I to split. The Mac & Cheese was creamy with the perfect bit of crisp from the breadcrumbs.
After we moved onto the main course. I went with the Ricotta Gnocchi, served with fresh asparagus, peas, charred lemon and a fresh farm egg on top. The gnocchi was homemade of course, a bit dense but packed with flavor. The egg was cooked perfectly with a bright yellow runny yolk. For me, the runnier the better!
Overall my meal was great, but when I tried my husband’s Brooklyn Banger’s Sausage, I knew he had won. The sausage is made right here in Brooklyn by Chef Saul Bolton (you might recognize him from Saul restaurant in Boerum Hill). Apartment 138’s menu changes seasonally and while the exact sausage and sides might change, Brooklyn Banger’s Sausage is a staple of their menu. The summer version was served with hominy, cheese grits, hamhock jus and mizuna. The favors blended well together, but to be honest, I would have been just as happy with the sausage alone. It was just that good.
After devouring our meals (my husband’s was huge, and I might have helped just so that beautiful sausage wouldn’t go to waste!), we were sadly too full for dessert. Though with choices like Jelly Doughnut Panna Cotta and Frozen Chocolate Mousse, we will most definitely be back!
A few extra bonuses about Apartment 138–first Tuesday is half price wine night (or 2 for 1 as I like to think of it). That means nearly every bottle on their wine list is 50% off! Can’t beat that. And another bonus, Cobble Hill Cinema is just a few blocks away and offers $7 tickets all day Tuesday and Thursday. It’s my favorite movie theater in Brooklyn. They have the right mix of mainstream and indie films, so there’s always something good to see. Good food, cheap wine and discounted movie tickets? Sounds like a perfect Date Night to me!