Saturday, August 15, 2009

Plain Vanilla at Anella

I don't mean it in a bad way at all. In fact, it's a really great thing that Anella keeps things so simple. It's refreshing. Nearly everything on their brunch menu is served on bruschetta and topped with fresh ingredients from their herb garden -- tomatoes, basil, parsley, mint, etc. If they don't grow it, it probably comes from local Rooftop farms. No hollandaise or anything to mask it. Just plain, simple and delicious.

It was super hot today and we needed something cold and refreshing, but nonalcoholic. Luckily they had a few really great sounding virgin cocktails. Rob had the orange basil spritzer (it usually features grapefruit instead of orange, but they were out). It was perfectly balanced with simple syrup and club soda.

My mint mulberry lemonade was refreshing as well, with just the right amount of sweetness.

The interior is made up of two long skinny rooms with lots of charming old wood. There's seating in their garden out back and lots of light throughout. I could see us coming by here for a drink, just to get a change of scenery. The bar area is semi-rustic and reminds me of an old ship, for some reason.

They brought out complimentary scones with just the right amount of frosting before our meal. It gave our sad blood sugar levels a much-needed boost.

Rob had the salmon with chive cream cheese, tomatoes, some kind of marinated red onions (maybe it was soaked in vinagrette?), and capers on bruschetta. He loved it, but the red onions made it a bit too acidic for my taste.

I had the spinach with prosciutto on bruschetta with tomatoes and basil. It was like biting into a fresh garden. The proscuitto tasted more like serrano ham to me, but no complaints on that, obviously. Each dish was served with roasted sliced potatoes that seemed homemade (some pieces were crispy, most were soft in the middle). My only complaint was that they weren't salty enough, and there was no salt on the table. Rob pointed out that asking for some would be an insult to the chef, but people are entitled to their own personal saltiness tastes, right?

Overall, it was a great, quiet place that had a nice secretive quality to it. It was nice to eat in the sunshine without baking in it, too. Can't wait to try dinner; their pastas and grilled veggies are supposed to be amazing.

Anyone else notice that everyone likes to name their restaurants slightly asymmetrical names (Anella, Anissa, Perilla)? I'm starting to think it's the mark of greatness.

222 Franklin Street (between Freeman & Green St)
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 389-8100

Friday, August 14, 2009

Donut Ice Cream Sandwiches at Peter Pan Bakery

I know I've been on a burger kick these past few Fridays, but today I decided to one-up myself and eat the unhealthiest thing you could possibly think of: a donut ice cream sandwich. Peter Pan bakery, Greenpoint's best spot for an old-fashioned donut, recently added this insane concoction to the menu to help us cope with a boiling hot summer. Isn't that nice of them?

They have a whole selection of cake donuts and ice cream flavors to choose from. Then they make it fresh: slice the donut, scoop the ice cream and put it back together. I had the red velvet/vanilla ice cream combo.

I speedwalked home as fast as I can to save my little donut friend from getting all melty, but alas, I failed. It ended up tasting like a warm donut dunked in really cold milk. I bet if you eat the thing on premises, it would be much more refreshing. The red velvet donut was a good choice; I don't normally like cake donuts (and prefer my red velvets in cupcake form) but had a great soft texture with just the right amount of chocolatey taste.

Yeah, it's basically a stomachache between two pieces of stomachache. But where will you ever find a better, colder or more unique donut than this? You better get one before autumn gets here!

Peter Pan Bakery
727 Manhattan Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(718) 389-3676

Cody Utzman on Chopped!

There are two major things I like to do on evenings: watch the Food Network and drink beer. So when I heard the nearby bar t.b.d. was hosting an evening to celebrate our local celebrity Cody Utzman's appearance on the Food Network's show Chopped, of course I showed up to share my love of food, tv and beer with my fellow Greenpointers.


Cody, who opened Brooklyn Label a few years ago, the Mexican street food spot Papacito's last summer and the gourmet bodega Brooklyn Standard even more recently, made the best sort of appearance possible. He cooked each course of the meal as it appeared on Chopped, starting with the appetizer (sausage, new potatoes, broccoli, red jam vinagrette), the entree (chicken, polenta, dandelion greens, starfruit, chutney) and dessert (which I left before I tried because a) it was getting late and b) I wasn't too eager to try a grape leaf dessert). I was in foodie heaven. How often do you watch a show on the Food Network and think, oh gee I really wish the chef were here right now to make it for me? Very awesome to have that reality.

Cody Utzman

Another cool thing about watching Cody prepare meals on the Food Network was to see his little personal flares shine through. It wasn't surprising that his go-to chicken accompanyment was polenta; he uses it as a base in two great brunch items found at Brooklyn Label and Papacito's. He also criss-crossed two chives across the meal to finish his plating on the show. You'll see the same thing on any plate at Brooklyn Label.

He won and made Brooklyn proud. It was great to be apart of such a fun experience!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Combining Two Loves: Food and Muppets

I stumbled across an article today that made me smile. Sixty-four year old Swedish chef Lars Kuprik Backman claims he is the inspiration for THE Swedish Chef, mainly based on what he described as a catestrophic live appearance on Good Morning America back in the '70s. While they don't offer any video footage, I can only imagine it involved pots and pans being flung around the room while he murmurs things that sound like "Sumee borkabork and a swermee wermee!"
The resemblance is uncanny, don't you think?