Cafecita Bogata Greenpoint Brunch

Okay so there’s brunch and there’s brunch, and then there’s a 100% Columbian brunch in at Cafecita Bogata Greenpoint Brooklyn.

Cafecita Bogata offers a 15 dollar brunch that comes with 3 cocktails or tropical fruit juices, unlimited coffee, and a gigantic portion for this gigantic portion of pepper steak and eggs.  I ordered the steak and eggs because I really didn’t know what else I wanted.  I was pleasantly surprised and then genuinely a-feared that i would be expected to finish the whole plate.

Stewed beef with onions, peppers topped with two poached eggs and a side of rice and beans will crush you in the morning.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, however looking back, this decision made me useless for the rest of the day.  I’m going to have to try something a bit lighter next time.

The passion fruit tropical juice was decent, and  although I didn’t try the sangria, it was clear that one could get very happy here for a reasonable amount of money.  Points on the South American music piping in as well, it almost makes you forget that you are in the middle of Brooklyn.  Proof.

Cafecita Bogata 1015 Manhattan Avenue Puntaverde (Greenpoint)

Octopus Balls

From Otafuku on East 9th street in the East Village. They specialize in a delicious Japanese treat of “Octopus Balls”… It’s way less scary than it sounds. The balls are really takoyaki a savory puffball with a bit of octo-meat in it. The batter is reminiscent of pancake batter, and usually the balls are ensconced with mayo and dried tuna shavings. Yum!

Here is a snapshot of the balls in the making. These guys do a lot of business with all the bars in the St. Mark’s area of the East Village. Also these things are the perfect snack after you’ve had a few cold ones.

There are no tables, just a take out window and a few benches. Regardless, there were quite a few punters standing on line waiting for their octo-fix. Proof!

Old Bay Crab Feast!

A relatively reasonable take-out crab feast from Steamers (302-539-6700 Route 26) in Bethany Beach Delaware.

Two dozen crabs, potato salad, coleslaw for under 50 dollars. This is a really good idea, and makes it so you don’t have to deal with lines, waits, crowds, waiters, babies crying etc. at the typical shoreside crab shack.  Just call ahead and your crabs are steamed, seasoned and ready to go with no wait.

The trick with take-away crabs is to keep them in the brown paper bag so they stay warm, dismantle them one at a time. Also make sure to have plenty of butter!

Some sweet corn picked right from a local farm.

Apparently some people put vinegar on their crabs? I tried it out- honestly it’s not my bag. Old bay and butter is fine for me.

And finally, the fun chore of picking them apart.  The old bay heat just builds and builds in between forkfulls of sweet blue claw meat tempered in a warm butter bath.  What more is there in life?  Proof!

Photo: Prime Rib from Smith and Wollensky Midtown

Prime rib from Smith and Wollensky in midtown Manhattan. Verdict on the dish- proof positive. Here’s a capture from my iPhone:

Other highlights included the baked potato “fixin’s bar” they put on your table. They furnish each table with a behemoth tray with bacon, chives, sour cream and cheddar cheese to slough on top your tater.  The creamed spinach was disappointing however- creamed and thrown in the food processor until becoming the texture of a warm spinach dip.

Also- can the management start enforcing rules about attire here?  It’s hard to plunk down 110 dollars and enjoy the very serious business of eating steak next to a pasty Aussie tourist dressed in safari shorts and crocs, the Outback is down the block yo. I know it’s restaurant week, but it makes me just want to go across town to Keen’s.  

Summer Sauce: Clams, Butter, Garlic and White Wine

I was lucky enough to pick up about 2 dozen fresh clams straight from the bay the other week, and had the opportunity to make one of my favorite summer treats.

I like to make a light white wine sauce- a great way to prepare clams in the summer.  Start off with a lot of chopped garden-grown fresh parsley, butter, a whole lemon, 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, a pinch of thyme, and some chopped onion or shallots.

The real trick is to wash and soak these clams thoroughly.  You don’t want any sand or grit in your sauce.  

Get your sauce pan red hot, add your butter/garlic and onions and cook just for a minute or so before adding the washed clams.  Sautee the clams themselves in this for a minute just to get things working.  You need the pan to heat back up after adding all the clams so its nice and hot when the wine hits the surface and you get that good hot sizzle reaction.

After that immediately add the juice of a lemon, most of your chopped parsley and a pinch of time.  Red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste as well.  LID ON.

As soon as the clams open, lid off, turn off the heat and stick in another pad of butter and the rest of your fresh parsley just to finish the sauce off.

If you want pasta (you could just have this with some bread and it would be totally fine), add your pasta to the pan (linguine in this case) and toss. It’s also important to remember to have your water boiling and your pasta added the exact same time you do your clams, because you don’t want to have to wait for that water to heat up!

That’s it! A delectable light summer sauce. Proof.

Soft Shell Crab Sandwich, Camden Yards

Ballpark food!  A soft shell crab sandwich at Camden Yards in Baltimore.  This might be the best ballpark treat out there, covered in coleslaw and accompanied by homemade potato chips.  12 bucks!

Here is an image of the interior of Camden Yards.  This park ushered in the new era of ballparks that were throwbacks to older and more fan-friendly designed parks, and helped put an end to the era of multi-sport arenas. This trend was soon followed by the baseball franchises in Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Pittsburgh just to name a few.

Camden Yards is spectacularly designed, blending right into the architecture of the local neighborhood. Brick and steel remind you of the Baltimore harbor warehouses and surrounding city-scape. Don’t miss catching a water taxi to the park from the inner harbor to take in the sights before the game.

Old Song Festival Eats From Upstate New York

Festival Eats!  Old Songs is a neat annual festival outside of Albany New York dedicated to preserving traditional music.  They also have some amazing eats…

Below is a falafel wrap from the Israeli food stand.  Really fresh and delicious.

Potato pancakes!  They come with apple sauce or sour cream, naturally.

The best strawberry shortcakes ever.  Made with a raspberry scone base instead of the more traditional angel food cake, dunked (drowned) in strawberry syrup, then ensconced in strawberry’s and real whipped cream.

Above was the large shortcake, enough for a family of four- below is the small, good for two after a long day of music and food.  Proof!