Friday, November 16, 2007

DOH Shuts Down Bubby's Tribeca for Roaches

I've never been to the Tribeca location and haven't been to the DUMBO outpost in a while, but now I may rethink going back anytime soon.

Bubby's restaurant failed four inspections since June 2007. Inspectors observed evidence of vermin activity at each inspection, including rat activity during two of the inspections. The restaurant was closed following an inspection on 11/14/07. Violations at that time included food contaminated with over 200 live cockroaches in four areas, evidence of rat activity in two areas, fly infestation in four areas, food kept at unsafe temperatures, bare hand contact with ready to eat food and multiple conditions contributing to vermin infestation.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Red Hook: The Embers of Gentrification

A feature story in New York Magazine takes a second look at the state of Red Hook, which for about a year or so has been penned as the next area poised for gentrification thanks to new restaurants, shops and large brands like IKEA and Fairway. But the article offers a healthy dose of the harsh reality.
For the last two years, people in Red Hook have been waiting—some hopefully, some fearfully—for that wave to crash, the hordes to come, the towers to sprout. Weirdly, though, none of that has happened. In fact, for all the heraldic attention, the neighborhood now seems to be going in reverse. The Pioneer bar has shut down. So has the bistro 360 and, just recently, the live-music venue the Hook.
In the past year, there has been a lot of discussion in the media about Red Hook as a great area to make a real estate investment, with apartments like this one regular being profiled in the Saturday Times' "Habitats" and "Living In" sections.

But the NYMag article suggests something interesting:
What if gentrification isn’t self-sustaining after all? What if, in fact, it’s exactly the opposite: a self-extinguishing phenomenon? What if it’s less a flood than a forest fire—wild, yes, out of control, absolutely, but destined to consume itself by burning through the fuel it needs to survive?

Is all hope lost for Red Hook or perhaps did people just over set expectations too quickly? Personally, I think Red Hook has some hidden gems, lovely views and good investment areas. I agree with Ben Schneider of the Good Fork (love that place) who is quoted in the article as saying that Red Hook is "definitely not for everyone." It's hard to get to and has its pros and cons, just like every neighborhood.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday Recipe: Tuscan Onion Soup

This onion soup recipe can be made anytime but is suggested as a first course for Thanksgiving and comes courtesy of our family friend Pat (yields 4 servings).

  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ lbs. white onions, peeled, thinly sliced
  • ¾ c dry white wine
  • 1 tomato, seeded, diced (about ½ cup)
  • 4 cups low salt chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 ounce thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped, (about ¼ cup)
  • ½ tsp fresh thyme or ¼ tsp dried
  • 4 tsps. Finely grated parmesan cheese

Melt butter with oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Add wine; simmer until wine evaporates, about 4 minutes. Add tomato and sauté 1 minute. Remove from heat. Transfer 1cup of chicken or vegetable broth and puree until smooth. Return puree to pot. Add remaining 3 cups broth, chopped prosciutto, and thyme. Bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes to blend flavors.

Ladle soup into bowls and top each serving with Parmesan cheese.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday Round-up: Links from the Blogosphere

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Red Hook Dive Moonshine Cited for Violations

Ever since we saw Anthony Bourdain visit Moonshine on his show No Reservations, we've always been meaning to go. Two of our best friends go all the time; it's down the block from one of them in Red Hook over near Wolcott St. Well we finally had the chance to go last weekend and I've already been plotting my next visit and telling anyone who would listen about how much fun we had.

Moonshine is the kind of place everyone wants at the end of their block with its casual atmosphere, inexpensive drinks, quality entertainment (Ms Pac Man, Photohunt, pool table, Buck Hunter and a juke box) and friendly service. They also have copious amounts of board games, including some of my favorites like Jenga and Connect Four (totally reminds me of the bar in Boston where I met my husband). But some of the things that differentiate this bar from others -- the bar's dog, opportunity to grill and chill your own meat in the back -- are apparently health code violations, according to The New York Times.

The bar's Web site now has the following posted in its BYOM section: "It is with great regret that we must announce the closing of the grills. The NYC Department of Health will not allow us to offer the grills to the public and therefore we have removed them from the premises. Feel free to BYOF...Bring Your Own Food."

What the NYT article so accurately points out is that some of these "violations" are just ridiculous and unavoidable. Ok, mice droppings... I get it. Fruit flies, yes gross, but who doesn't have fruit flies? I had flies in my sake at Nobu. Citations for bare-hand lime contact is just ridiculous.
A male worker observed having bare-hand contact with one slice of ready-to-eat lime while placing on top of beer bottle for patron in bar,” the citation, dated Oct. 9, states. Bare-hand contact? How else is a bartender supposed to get a ready-to-eat lime slice into a bottle of Corona for a patron? According to the health department, there are two solutions. Plastic gloves or tongs. In other words, every time a bartender in New York City puts a lime slice in that Corona with bare hands, he or she is breaking the law.

What do you think? I know I'll probably be back for more ...

317 Columbia St.
Red Hook Brooklyn

Monday, November 05, 2007

Monday Recipe: Apple Corn Bread-Stuffed Pork Loin

An oldie, but goodie from Cooking Light. I have been collecting recipes over the years and recently made this one again after having forgotten about it. My only suggestion would be to omit the "sauce," which is inedible. Otherwise, the dish is fantastic for a dinner party or small group of friends.

Apple and Corn Bread-Stuffed Pork Loin
The pork loin is stuffed with and baked atop apples. The apple wedges that the pork cooks over are discarded, but they contribute lots of flavor. The double-butterfly method used to flatten the pork for stuffing creates an attractive pinwheel pattern, evident when the pork is sliced.

  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/2 cup diced peeled Granny Smith apple
  • 1 1/2 cups corn bread stuffing mix (such as Pepperidge Farm)
  • 1 1/3 cups apple juice or cider, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage, divided
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 (4-pound) boneless center-cut pork loin roast, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  1. Preheat oven to 450°
  2. Heat a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; cover and cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add diced apple; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Place apple mixture in a large bowl, and cool slightly. Stir in the stuffing mix, 1/3 cup juice, 1/2 teaspoon sage, and egg; set aside.
  3. Starting off-center, slice pork lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, other side. Open butterflied portions, laying pork flat. Turning knife blade parallel to surface of cutting board, slice larger portion of pork in half horizontally, cutting to, but not through, other side; open flat. Place plastic wrap over pork; pound to 1-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  4. Spread stuffing over pork, leaving a 1/2-inch margin around outside edges. Roll up pork, jelly-roll fashion, starting with a long side. Secure at 2-inch intervals with twine. Combine 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon sage, and 1 teaspoon salt; rub over pork.
  5. Arrange apple wedges in a single layer in bottom of a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; place pork on apples. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325° (do not remove the pork from oven). Bake an additional 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a thermometer registers 155°. Remove pork from pan; cover and let stand 10 minutes. Discard apple wedges.
  6. (This is what I omit: Combine 1 cup juice, cornstarch, and broth in a small saucepan; stir with a whisk. Bring broth mixture to boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.)

Yield: 12 servings

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Review: Frankie's 457

Last night, we went with another couple to Frankie's 457 in Carroll Gardens. I had never been to that end of Court Street and anticipate I'll be back soon for more. The cozy atmosphere was a perfect complement to the cooler weather last night. The inside of the restaurant had exposed brick walls and a tin ceiling and wall.

We didn't have a reservation, but had a drink at the bar and it was only a short wait for a table. I would definitely recommend going as a party of four as there are some very small cramped tables of 2 in the front that seem less desirable than the other options.

After about 15-20 minutes, we were led to our table. When the host took us to the back door and outside I was very worried for a second, but we were taken to another structure in the back, which was almost like an old farmhouse inside. Brick walls and contemporary soft lighting filled the room and I felt instantly at home. This area would be fantastic for a small wedding reception, anniversary party or something of the like.

The menu was broken into several sections, including salads, sandwiches and specials (entrees), and a back-side with cheeses and meats. We all decided to get something different so we could taste a bit of everything. We ordered the chef's choice antipasti, roasted spicy eggplant on crostini and then we tried four entrees: squash and yam ravioli, sweet sausage roasted red peppers and onions over polenta, homemade spaghetti over mushrooms and homemade cavetelli with spicy sausage and brown butter.

My husband's pick -- the sweet sausage and polenta -- was the clear favorite and I would order it the next time for sure. All of ours were very good, but his was outstanding. The wine selection was also very good although I can't remember which bottle we shared.

There was ample street parking, but the restaurant is close to the F & G at Carroll Street. The bill for four with a bottle of wine and other drinks was very reasonable.

457 Court St
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Phone: (718) 403-0033