Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Spartan Souvlaki II

On my continuing quest to find the best gyro in the city I stopped into Spartan Souvlaki in Bayridge.   At first I wasn't even sure this tiny spot was open.  No one greeted me at the door and the open kitchen was empty.  Then I heard a big explosion of laughter and everyone (chefs, waitresses, etc.) came walking out of the back together.  I instantly felt the love between this crew and they welcomed me like a long lost friend.   

Instead of ordering just a classic Gyro I opted for the Gyro Salad filled with big juicy strips of lamb layered on top of lettuce, tomato, cucumber then drizzled with a light Greek vinaigrette and a flurry of crumbled feta cheese.  Being a lover of all things salad and gyro this was AMAZING!  If this place was in my neighborhood I would be eating here at least once a week.

The salad came with a side of pita bread and tzatziki sauce so I basically could make my own gyro if I really wanted.  For a quick, delicious meal (my food arrived within 5 minutes of ordering) and friendly service this is a seriously great spot in Bayridge.

Spartan Souvlaki II
8303 3rd Avenue at 83rd Street
Brooklyn, New York 11209

Monday, November 23, 2015

Brunch at The Gander

There's little in life that makes me happier than a beautiful pink drink and a delicious brunch; both of which were accomplished at The Gander.

Two pinks drinks to be exact.  A refreshing Raspberry Lemonade for Mr. T made with local raspberries & mint and the Itza Spritza for me with pisco, prosecco and raspberry syrup.

For brunch I ordered the Omelet with creamy cheddar cheese, mushroom and scallion while Mr. T went for southern fare with the Shrimp and Grits loaded up with smoked mushroom and crispy pork cracklings.

Everything was perfect. Food, drinks, service...Saturdays are just so much better with a delicious start :)

The Gander
15 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011

Friday, November 20, 2015

New Brew Friday- Grimm Tesserect

It's time for New Brew Friday and we're going local once again with Tesserect from husband and wife owned Grimm Artisanal Ales in Brooklyn. This is only the second can release from Grimm the first being a New Brew Friday back in September Afterimage.  

Tesserect is another Double IPA this time brewed with Mosaic, Flaconers Flight and Citra hops.  It pours a bright vibrant yellow, so bright it looks almost neon at first, with big citrus aromas of pineapple, peach and melon..  The first sip is like drinking a peach gummy; super fruity, super juicy with just a hint of pine on the end that smooths the flavor out.  It clocks in at 8% but the high carbonation and light body make this incredible drinkable.  Another stunner from Grimm and another big win for NYC brews.  Cheers!

Grimm Artisanal Ales
P.O. Box 150472
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Flavors of South Africa with Chef Benny

Celebrity Chef and Masterchef Judge Benny Maskwameng put on a fantastic lunch recently showcasing the flavors of South Africa; his first in the United States.  The meal was held downtown at the new IAC Brookfield and it almost felt like Chef Benny had been cooking there for years.  His infectious smile and booming personality were an absolute pleasure to watch as he created some of his favorite dishes like this Seafood Delight with tempura prawn tail, stuffed calamari, crayfish with avocado mayo and mussel with lemon-dill veloute.

Pan Seared Lamb Loin with red wine jus atop sugar beans, lentils and green peas with roasted butternut squash puree and potato croquettes.

And to finish a deconstructed Amarula Milk Tart with glazed fresh berries and a mixed berry sorbet.

Everything from the delightfully light avocado crayfish to the rich flavors of the lamb were incredible and that dessert...OMG.  It incorporated Amarula Liquor which is made from the exotic marula fruit found only on the plains of Africa.  The pulp is fermented into wine then distilled twice before aging in small oak barrels which impart a delicious vanilla, toasted almond flavor to the spirit.  It's amazing to use in tarts like the one above or as the main ingredient of a delicious cocktail.

I plan to make a frothy cinnamon Amarula apertif to complement the pecan pie at my Thanksgiving dinner this year. Cheers to Chef Benny for whipping up some egg whites into solid peaks in less than 2 minutes.  His charisma alone is the perfect excuse to get out and experience South Africa. Click on the link below for more on this amazing Chef and thanks to Tsogo Sun and South African Airways for an awesome event.

Tsogo Sun- Chef Benny

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

An Old Favorite at Danji

I don't make it up to Hell's Kitchen nearly enough as I should.  There are so many spots I still need to try out like Bar Bacon, The Marshal and of course Anejo from one of my favorite chefs Angelo Sosa.  Yet when I found myself in the area just yesterday I immediately gravitated to my old haunt Danji.  This cozy little spot churns out amazing Korean food like crunchy Fried Chicken Wings in both spicy and garlic honey flavors; the best Bulgogi Beef Sliders in the city and one of my favorite vegetarian plates of all time the Tofu with Ginger Scallion Dressing.

The tofu is lightly fried giving it a crispy warm exterior that gives way to such a silky smooth interior it can only be described as luxurious.  Then it's all topped off with slivers of jalapeno, crunchy tempura flakes and a sweet & salty soy vinaigrette.  This is an absolutely banging dish that I will  always find hard passing up.

346 West 52nd between 8th & 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10019