I have been experimenting with a few recipes lately for a future food venture with some friends. Sometimes I just don’t like cooking first thing in the morning. Especially if it’s the night after you are having a send off for your best friend’s move to the west coast and you thought it was a good idea to drink a bunch of Hawaiian Punches at Winnie’s. Sidenote: Don’t order the Cookie Monster at Winnie’s. That would explain why I decided to test out one of the Brunch recipes at 7:30pm. So here it is… Grilled Mushroom Polenta with Basil Tomato Sauce topped with a Poached Egg sprinkled with Black Sea Salt. How did it go over? Excellent… definitely a little tweaking but this is gonna go on our menu. Stay tuned for some of the recipes…
Monthly Archives: February 2012
A few months ago Erin and I went to check out a new place in our hood. It was a week after the place had first opened on a Friday night after 8pm. We knew we were going to be screwed to get a table so we just accepted the fact that we would be drinking alot before dinner. We went in, they tell us it would be about an hour and we scurried to the bar. While at the bar we met a guy named Justin talking about his new place he was opening in the hood. We proceeded to have drinks and we had a great time as he went into passionate detail about his new place, Speedy Romeo. He sounded so excited about it that we couldn’t wait til it opened. It almost sounded too good to be true.
Weeks later we see an episode of Chopped and there is Justin Bazdarich in the thick of competition. Everything he was making looked really good and I figured this will bode well for his new place he told us about opening. He almost won that episode with some very to the point flavors. He also spoke some more about Speedy Romeo, shit I almost forgot the name by then, and it got us interested again. I did a little research and started to follow all the buzz about this place. I told Erin as soon as they open we were in there. One week after opening we decided to take my mom and dad there to check it out… and were we ever so happy we did.
As you get to the corner of Greene and Classon in Clinton Hill you will notice this old facade of an auto parts store with a “liquors” sign on the corner. Yup, you are at the right place. As you walk in there is a very nice and warm feeling from the decor. Open kitchen and bar to the right and seating on the left. It’s a perfect and cozy layout. It was a Friday night and it was really busy but the staff took care of us right off the bat very well. They had a table for us within 15 minutes. I do suggest though that if you are coming on a Friday or Saturday night get there by 7:30.
My mom, dad, Erin and myself sat down and made a selection of drinks from their varied beer and wine list – The list is nice and a well rounded compliment to the menu. We then decided to go with some appetizers, a pizza and our main entree. The first pizza we ordered was their house special Saint Louie. This is a great example of what this place is all about. Midwest meets Italy with a slap of new Brooklyn thrown in for good measure. This brick oven pie had Provel (a type of mixed cheese from the Mid West), Italian Sausage, Pepperoni and the best pickled chilies (btw they give you these on the table to put on everything… my dad and I couldn’t stop eating them). The creamy cheese with the sausage and amazing spicy chilies gave it this perfect blend of tart, spicy and creamy that I wish every one of my meals started off with.
When Erin and I first started dating she told me about how she would love if we could cook something together one night. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t too into the idea at first. I tend to be a kitchen Nazi and like things done my way or you aint eating, I’m slowly working on overcoming that. But being that I wanted to make her happy, and we were still in that impressionistic phase, I said “Sure, lets give it a try, what do you have in mind”, with my most reassuring voice. At that point she proceeds to pull out this small pink leather cookbook that her mom had put together for her when Erin moved to NYC and says “Let’s take a look in here!”
I was in awe when I opened it. It was a collection of recipes her mom had perfected and written by hand into the pink lined note book. First off I was impressed, the penmanship was out of control, not like my mom’s scribble (we’ll leave that for another time). Second, there were so many different recipes that sounded so good and you can tell they were tried and tested. As we were flipping through it one recipe popped out right away… Cioppino. I looked over at Erin and I just let her know “We are gonna rock through this recipe together tomorrow afternoon!” with the excitement of a fat kid in a candy store. Erin seemed just as excited telling me it was one of her favorite dishes, as it is mine. Just then I realized maybe this wasn’t gonna be so bad after all.
The dish originates in San Francisco, it’s beginnings attributed to Istrian & Venetian fisherman who worked the SF Bay and would “chip in” their random scraps of seafood they couldn’t sell at the end of their long days. They took these scraps and would make a spicy tomato based stew that was reminiscent of Istrian & Northern Italian seafood brodetto. Side Note: The most authentic Cioppino is served in SF at Istrian run Tadich Grill, yeah my people are all over this dish. This of course is a match made in heaven for me. Fresh fish, shell fish, spicy broth with just enough of a brine to remind you that this is what the ocean should taste like.