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October 10, 2012

OHNY: Walking The High Line, Section 3

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It's Open House New York time in NYC again. You may remember my trip last year to the old TWA Terminal at JFK. I mostly shot that with film for my analog series.

This year, Tammi got us on the OHNY list for a walk through the undeveloped section of The High Line. The area from 30th to 34th Street wraps around the Hudson Yards, which will also be developed in the next few years.

See more photos after the jump and the whole set on flickr.

Continue reading "OHNY: Walking The High Line, Section 3" »

October 3, 2012

Faces of Atlantic Antic 2012

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Labor Day and the Equinox may ring in Fall for most, but summer doesn't end for me until Atlantic Antic. I've gushed about the mile-long street festival before. I've been going since I was a kid and it always seems like the entirety of Brooklyn is out based both on the crowds and the numer of friends and acquaintances we end up running into along the way.

I take my camera with me every year, but this time I chose to focus on the people who were out and about on Sunday. See the faces of Brooklyn's biggest street fair after the jump.

Continue reading "Faces of Atlantic Antic 2012" »

June 20, 2012

Food/Work: Edible Brooklyn Feature

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As part of my Food/Work project, I found myself exploring the halls of a couple commercial kitchens around Brooklyn. This month, many of the photos from these excursions have made it into a feature in the pages of Edible Brooklyn.

The article, written by Amy Cortese, discusses how the rise of small batch, artisanal foods has created a new niche market for the specialized cooking space required to produce all those cupcakes, cookies, granola and saltwater taffy.

After the jump, check out some photos from the kitchens at Hana Pastries in Sunset Park.

Continue reading "Food/Work: Edible Brooklyn Feature" »

May 21, 2012

The Narrative Process - My Tech Munch Presentation

Last Friday, I took part in a panel for the TechMunch Conference, a food blogger gathering, to discuss the narrative process. In it, Tricia Okin led a discussion with me, Liza de Guia of Food. Curated. And Kasey Hickey of Evernote Food about how each of us comes to the stories we publish.

Time limitations (and nerves) prevented me from hitting all my points, so I thought I'd post my whole planned talk here, after the jump.

Continue reading "The Narrative Process - My Tech Munch Presentation" »

May 16, 2012

Queens: A Roosevelt Avenue Street Food Tour

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I don't get out to Queens much. In fact, besides going to the airports, I mostly like to avoid the borough as a whole. That said, I've been hearing great things about the great food there for years. Last year, the lore took me out to M Wells - twice. Last weekend, it took me to Roosevelt Avenue, where I grazed my way down thirty blocks with my fellow Midtown Lunch contributors, Donny (of Eat To Blog) and Siobhan (of Blondie & Brownie).

The trip wasn't entirely for leisure, though. Siobhan and her blogging partner Alex are writing a street food cookbook and Donny and I will be providing some of the photography. So, you know, it's research. Leading us through this unfamiliar territory was Jeff Orlick, aka JeffreyTastes, who runs regular tours of the area.

I hope to write a few posts about some of the specific places we visited, but who knows when I'll have time for that, so let's start with the highlights - after the jump.

Continue reading "Queens: A Roosevelt Avenue Street Food Tour" »

May 2, 2012

Your First Look at The Bar at Peaches

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Last night, Bed-Stuy got its newest bar. The folks at Peaches have renovated the space where Bread-Stuy used to be and turned it into a bar for folks in the neighborhood to hang out, chat and enjoy each other's company. It's a much needed addition to the neighborhood and I'm looking forward to spending long evenings bending elbows at the bar or holed up in a window seat on a summer's day.

Before they opened, owners Craig & Ben let me in to get a first look at the place. They're also our first confirmed stop on the next Bed-Stuy Crawl, which will tour Lewis Avenue on Saturday, June 2nd.

See more photos of the space after the jump...

Continue reading "Your First Look at The Bar at Peaches" »

April 17, 2012

Bed-Stuy Crawl, Round 2 Recap

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Last weekend's Bed-Stuy Crawl was an amazing success. Alisha, Nicole and I led a crowd of nearly 50 people to sip and snack at three spots in the Franklin/Bedford corner of the neighborhood. I told you all about the plan last week, so check out how it all went with photos after the jump.

Continue reading "Bed-Stuy Crawl, Round 2 Recap" »

April 11, 2012

This weekend, Bed-Stuy Crawl returns!

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This Saturday, April 14th, Nicole Taylor, Alisha Miranda and I will be hosting our second installment of our Bed-Stuy Crawl series.

Having lived in Bed-Stuy since I was a kid, I have to say there hasn't been a more exciting time to live in the neighborhood. As recently as five years ago, the idea of being able to spend a Saturday evening out with friends without leaving the bounds of Bed-Stuy was pretty unlikely. Your options were to hang out at an old man bar or to spend the whole time at one of a handful of scattered restaurants around the area. That's all changed. And it's pretty great.

If you missed the first Bed-Stuy Crawl back in February, here's your chance to make it up to yourself. Last time, led a group of 40 from Fulton Grand on the Clinton Hill border to Breucklen Cellars, Vodou Lounge and finally Black Swan. It was an amazing time and we're doing it all over again this weekend. Check out the plan for this weekend's festivities after the jump.

Continue reading "This weekend, Bed-Stuy Crawl returns!" »

April 2, 2012

Self-Promotion: How To Knead, Top and Toss it

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The How to... series presented by Edible Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Brewery has returned this year and I've been out shooting it. Back in February, "How to Slice it" brought meat mavens together to learn the best way to make sausage, truss a roast and debone a chicken. More recently, the theme was pizza and it packed the house. Check out a couple highlights after the jump and see a slideshow and details on the speakers on the Edible Brooklyn recap.

Continue reading "Self-Promotion: How To Knead, Top and Toss it" »

April 1, 2012

Self-Promotion: Ten Bells Photo on Travel + Leisure Site

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Last month, Travel + Leisure used one this photo from LES Wine Bar, Ten Bells in their slideshow of America's Best Wine Bars. I was really excited to work with T+L and hope to get a chance to work with them again in the future.

March 20, 2012

Self-Promotion: The BrunchCritic Tour

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Last month, Andrea of BrunchCritic hired me to shoot some places for her site. I spent the afternoon bouncing around half a dozen New York neighborhoods shooting some pretty cool looking brunch spots.

The adventure started with The Cupping Room in SoHo, above. After the jump, see where else I ended up - and check out brunchcritic.com for reviews and a spiffy brunch search tool.

Continue reading "Self-Promotion: The BrunchCritic Tour" »

March 14, 2012

Kitchensurfing: Chefs & Photogs Meet

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A couple weeks ago, David Siegel, who I met while he worked at Peaches and later photographed as he made cookies for Fats and Flour, told me about a site called Kitchensurfing. The site plans to be a gathering point for chefs to share resources and compare notes. Earlier this month, they hosted an event which invited chefs and photographers to connect. Each chef brought a dish or two and the photographers styled, arranged and shot the food.

Of course, as much as I enjoy shooting food, it was the spectacle of all the people interacting with the food and each other that caught my eye. The result is more Food/Work than food porn. Get a look at what I saw after the jump.

Continue reading "Kitchensurfing: Chefs & Photogs Meet" »

February 29, 2012

The Final Something I Ate NY

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The fourth and final edition of the food and art series, Something I Ate took place last weekend in Williamsburg. As with the previous two editions, I was on hand to document the evening's festivities. It's sad to see the event come to an end, but I'm very excited for its next act, which takes the show to London next month. Wish I could go!

See some of the food, the people and the art after the jump.

Continue reading "The Final Something I Ate NY" »

February 17, 2012

Analog Returns: Terminal 5

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Last week, I was chatting with a friend and he referred to a time when I "used to shoot film." It took me aback for a moment. My analog experiments have slowed down considerably, but, I never really thought of myself as not shooting film anymore. In fact, the five rolls of film in my coat pocket for the last couple months will testify that I at least shoot film occasionally.

What I haven't been doing is posting any of those film photos. So, here goes. This week, I've started posting again on my analog tumblr. I'm starting with some photos from an Open House New York tour I took last year of the old TWA Terminal Five at JFK.

Enjoy!

February 2, 2012

Longest Night

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In December in Gowanus, an event called Longest Night transformed an industrial space into a performance venue. My friend Brian worked on video-mapping used there and invited me to the party. It's been a while since I've been to an all out, middle of nowhere, art event and I have to say it was a lot of fun. I hadn't planned on taking photos at all, but after seeing the aerialist flying above us all, I couldn't just leave my camera in the bag.

See more photos after the jump - I never caught her name, but if you know who she is, let me know in the comments. I'd love to see another performance like this.

Continue reading "Longest Night" »

February 1, 2012

This Weekend: Bed-Stuy Crawl

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There's so much going on in Bed-Stuy these days. It seems like a month doesn't go by that a new bar or restaurant isn't opening up to much interest and curiosity of its neighbors.

My friends Alisha and Nicole and I are hosting a crawl of some of the neighborhood's new(ish) watering holes this weekend and I'd love for you to join us. For $25 you get discounts, deals and tastings as we make our way around the neighborhood.

Find out more information and buy tickets at the Bed-Stuy Crawl eventbrite page and keep up on the news on twitter by following #bedstuycrawl.

January 31, 2012

Self-Promotion: In The New York Times

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This is hardly news to anyone who follows me on Facebook, Twitter or even Pinterest, but I'm still excited two weeks later.

The above photo is my first to be published in The New York Times. It's of black truffle soup dumplings at Red Farm and, just in time for Chinese New Year, it got a fair amount of attention, getting reposted on Zagat and Gothamist.

It's a great milestone and helped me push through as I did five more shoots the following week. Onward.

January 23, 2012

New York Tech Meetup's SOPA Protest

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Unless you were stuck in a cave, you almost certainly heard about the proposed SOPA and PIPA bills and last Wednesday's day of protest all over the internet that it resulted in. If somehow you missed what the whole bill was about, see The Oatmeal's hilarious SOPA explanation. While websites all over the world were blacking out their pages in a new form of activism, the folks at New York Tech Meetup decided to take an old school approach and led a rally in front of the office building of New York's two Senators.

As with last year's Meetup with Mayor Bloomberg, NYTM brought me in to document the event. See some of the photos after the jump.

Continue reading "New York Tech Meetup's SOPA Protest" »

January 20, 2012

Food/Work Preview: Dallis Brothers Coffee Tour

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Back in the fall, one of the Edible Brooklyn events I shot was "How to Roast," all about coffee. I met some of the folks from Dallis Brothers Coffee and we talked a bit about their roasting plant in Queens and I thought about going to photograph it one day for Food/Work. I ran into the folks from Dallis at one of the holiday markets last month and found out they do tours of the facility. It seemed like a good scouting expedition to figure out if it's something I might want to photograph more extensively. So, the first weekend of January, Tammi and I headed to the end of the A line to Ozone Park to see what it was all about. Check out some of the photos from the tour after the jump.

Continue reading "Food/Work Preview: Dallis Brothers Coffee Tour" »

January 2, 2012

Introducing Food/Work


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Happy New Year, folks. 2011 was packed with experiences and opportunities that I hope to build on for years to come. To begin, I'm launching a new photo project that I'm very excited about, called Food/Work.

Expanding on the Butchery project of the last few years and the kitchen shoots I've done in the last several months, Food/Work explores the real effort that gets food on our tables. Following the examples of Michael Harlan Turkell's Back of House series and my friend Donny's Foodaisance project, I want to call attention to the work that goes into cooking, preparing, cutting, cultivating and even killing the food that so many of us enjoy and obsess over.

Although the project will not be limited to Brooklyn, starting Wednesday, I'll be posting some photos on Nona Brooklyn every other week. The first post went up last month with photos of Emily Cavalier cooking dishes for November's Midnight Brunch supper club.

So, stay tuned. The slideshow above is just a preview of what's to come.

November 18, 2011

Self-Promotion: Something I Ate - Tonight!

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Over the summer, I had the pleasure of photographing Something I Ate, an art and food event hosted by On Plate Still Hungry and Skimkim Foods. The dishes served included multilayered savory push pops, a set of brass knuckles made from watermelon and hanging hor d'oeuvres that were torched before serving. It was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to shooting the latest in the series tonight. Check out the Skimkim blog for more details on tonight's event and check out some of the photos from the summer party after the jump.

Something I Ate, November 18, 7-10pm. Acme Studios, 63 N 3rd Street, Williamsburg.

Continue reading "Self-Promotion: Something I Ate - Tonight!" »

November 16, 2011

Self-Promotion: An Edible Events recap

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I've kept busy since returning from South America in part by running around photographing events. Among the events that I've been shooting like Midnight Brunch, New York Tech Meetup and the Fleisher's Opening, I've also been brought on a number of times to shoot events for Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan.

Check out some of the highlights after the jump.

Continue reading "Self-Promotion: An Edible Events recap" »

November 9, 2011

Self-Promotion: ScoutMob and the New York City Marathon

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When I started talking to the fine folks at Scout Mob about being a local scout for them, I think we all assumed that I'd be pitching stories about food. I certainly didn't expect it to be about a sporting event. Then I remembered the annual tradition Tammi and I have had for eight years now and it just sort of made sense.

Check out Today's Culture Hunter and see my photos from the 2011 New York City Marathon and a bit on how it turned into the ritual it has for us.

October 31, 2011

Finding Halloween candy with Eat This NY

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Brian Hoffman, a fellow contributor to Midtown Lunch, hosts regular videos on his site, Eat This NY. The other day, I joined him to film his Halloween video, which profiled artisanal candy shop, Papabubble. It was my first time seriously shooting video and thus quite a learning experience. We also got to geek out watching them create some of the unique handmade candy right on site.

As I'm incapable of watching people work with food without photographing them, of course I took a few stills along the way. Check them out after the jump.

Continue reading "Finding Halloween candy with Eat This NY" »

October 26, 2011

Butchery: Fleisher's Brooklyn is open for business

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Fleisher's, the butchering mecca that inspired so much of the whole animal cooking that we've seen in the last few years has come to Brooklyn. The new shop is located in Park Slope on 5th Avenue off Sackett. I've been a big fan of theirs since I photographed their Pig to Pork event last year.

The grand opening of the new shop was last week and co-owner Jessica Applestone asked me to photograph the big day. Borough President and Brooklyn cheerleader Marty Markowitz was on hand to celebrate the big day.

October 19, 2011

Self-Promotion: Photographing Mayor Bloomberg at NYTM

Mayor Bloomberg at New York Tech Meetup

Last week, I got called on to photograph the October edition of New York Tech Meetup, a monthly event wherein tech startups present their projects and ideas to other tech types, entrepreneurs and potential investors. Wearing my geek hat for a moment, it was an event that I'd been hoping to check out one of these days regardless, so I was really excited when my friend Jessica Lawrence, who works for NYTM asked if I'd be available to shoot it. Things got even more interesting when I heard that their special guest this month was going to be the mayor.

See the full set of photos from the event including more of the Mayor and all the presenters at ClayWilliamsPhoto.com.

October 7, 2011

Self-Promotion: Shooting Dan Kluger at Bon Appetit's Feast or Fashion

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It's been a busy month since I got back from South America. In addition to shooting Midnight Brunch, I shot The Vendys for Midtown Lunch and the Feast or Fashion dinner for Bon Appetit.

The event, hosted at the TriBeCa home of fashion designer Lela Rose, was catered by Dan Kluger of ABC Kitchen. Unlike so many of the other events I've photographed lately, almost all of my shooting this time had me in the kitchen following Chef Kluger and his team.

I've posted an extended gallery from the event on claywilliamsphoto.com.

September 21, 2011

Self-Promotion: Midnight Brunch II

Photo Recap: Midnight Brunch Edition Two with Google Places

After a month in South America, I got back to New York a couple weeks ago and have been keeping busy, that includes shooting Midnight Brunch last weekend. The event, hosted by Emily Cavalier of Mouth of the Border and sponsored by Google NYC, was the second in a series for the ethnically inspired supper club.

Thirty winners of a contest on Google Places were invited to an undisclosed location in the Lower East Side- the apartment-like space above Casa Mezcal on Orchard Street. The gathering was full of familiar faces, which made the whole thing a lot more fun. Folks I've met in my photo adventures and twittering over the last year or so were there along with plenty of interesting new people. It was a great time. For more details on the evening, including a full menu, see Emily's recap.


Now that I've returned, expect more Peru posts in the next few days...

August 12, 2011

Self-Promotion: My SLR Food Photography Guide on Foodspotting

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I'm using my transit time to finally catch up on various posts and self-promotion that I have been too tied up to keep up to date on the blog. First up is this guide I put together last month for Foodspotting.

It's all about SLR food photography and offers a number of tips and tricks for capturing interesting images of food in restaurants.

The guide is an overview, but I do plan to follow it up here with a few more in-depth posts. First up, will be about white balance - it's one of those things that seems to throw everyone off. If you've got any particular photography questions you'd like me to cover, let me know in the comments or write me on twitter @ultraclay.

August 10, 2011

Early Lunch at M Wells

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Last week, in my post-corporate afterglow, I took the opportunity to return to M Wells, the site of my amazing birthday dinner. I'd heard great things about the brunch menu and had to see what it was all about. The timing turned out to be perfect as, just the day before, the eccentric Long Island City diner announced that it would be closing up shop due to a rent hike.

I met up with my friend Emily, one of the many awesome people I met at the Foodspotting events this spring. She has also recently left the land of the day job and is pursuing her own projects.

We didn't gorge ourselves the way that Eric and I did back in June, but we ate pretty well. See the courses after the jump.

Continue reading "Early Lunch at M Wells" »

August 1, 2011

Nom Wah Parlor with Chinatown Chowdown

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Last week, Tammi and I took to Chinatown's historic dim sum parlor, Nom Wah, to help celebrate the release of Chinatown Chowdown. As I mentioned before, the app is a savior for folks like me that have a hard time figuring out which of the hundreds of restaurants, carts and eateries in the neighborhood to try. I plan to spend some quality time exploring the options and thus far have it to thank for a few good meals.

Follow the jump for photos from the festivities.

Continue reading "Nom Wah Parlor with Chinatown Chowdown" »

July 27, 2011

Dekalb Market Open for Business

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Last weekend saw the launch of Dekalb Market, a new open air marketplace on the edge of Downtown Brooklyn. I had planned on writing an elaborate post about it, but it seems that's not going to happen soon, so I'll have to settle for a quick series of photos with a bit of commentary after the jump...

Continue reading "Dekalb Market Open for Business" »

July 22, 2011

This Weekend: Makossa Brooklyn Cookout

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If you weren't sure from the heatwave, it's summertime and thus barbecue season. My friends from rare form (the folks who bring it with the annual Donuts Are Forever party) have a monthly party in the backyard at Fresthetics, a clothing store in Williamsburg. After missing out on them for one reason or another last summer, I was sure to make the first of the season last month.

Tomorrow, they're doing it all over again, this time with guest DJs from Los Angeles and San Francisco and Filipino snacks from Mahalo Foods.

Check out more photos from June's party after the jump.

Makossa, Saturday July 23rd, 4-10pm.
552 Grand Street, Williamsburg

Continue reading "This Weekend: Makossa Brooklyn Cookout" »

July 20, 2011

Bed-Stuy: Do or Dine brings an adventurous menu to the hood

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Even though they've only been open for a month or so, I feel late to the game with Do or Dine. The internets have been abuzz with talk of all the crazy and interesting food they're churning out for weeks. And that was all before some goofy vegans gave them the best PR gift you could ask for by starting a petition against the foie gras doughnuts they serve.

The restaurant, which is really more like a clubhouse, describes itself as an 'American Izakaya,' only because everyone's tired of the word 'gastropub.' Really though, that's what it is, an awesome gastropub where they cook whatever they feel like trying. I don't care what you call it, it's good and I plan to return soon. After the jump, check out the meal and a very cool surprise at the end.

Continue reading "Bed-Stuy: Do or Dine brings an adventurous menu to the hood" »

July 14, 2011

Bars: The Way Station, Prospect Heights' Doctor Who-themed bar

A Doctor Who themed bar in Prospect Heights. It's #geektastic #Brooklyn #bars

This spring, Tammi and I fell down the rabbit hole that is Doctor Who. We spent about a month consuming episode after episode of five seasons of the British Sci-fi series and have been coming back for more ever since. So, when a friend mentioned that there was a bar in Prospect Heights with a Doctor Who theme, we showed up at their doorstep within days.

It's called the Way Station and as you see here, they've got a Tardis, the big blue box at the center of the series, in the middle of the bar. It serves as the restroom - and yes, it is bigger on the inside.

I randomly posted this on my digital Tumblr a week ago and was subsequently hit with a barrage of 'where is it?!' messages and reblogs. I answered there, but since there is clearly a following, I figured I'd post it here as well.

The Way Station, 683 Washington Avenue, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

July 13, 2011

Kitchens: The Chef's Counter at La Lunetta

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After the Bastille Day fun on Sunday, Tammi and I had dinner at Lunetta, the wonderful Italian restaurant that happens to sit on the site of our first date, those many years ago. By chance, we managed to get a seat at the Chef's counter in the back. Whether it's at the counter at Osteria in Philly or at Cal Pep in Barcelona or I'm just watching demos at The Astor Center, I love seeing - and photographing professionals working in a kitchen. I've been doing more of it lately for some projects I don't think I can talk about just yet, but I take every opportunity to shoot in kitchens and this was no different. Check out the photos, including a rather dramatic flare-up and some delicious food after the jump.

Continue reading "Kitchens: The Chef's Counter at La Lunetta" »

July 12, 2011

The Storming of Smith Street

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Every year, in honor of Bastille day, Smith Street brasserie, Bar Tabac leads the charge for Brooklyn's francophiles by taking over a couple blocks of the strip and dedicating it to the very French pastimes of drinking outdoors and playing petanque. I've been meaning to go for years and finally, Tammi and I checked it out. See photos from the day after the jump...

Continue reading "The Storming of Smith Street" »

July 8, 2011

Chinatown: Hua Ji's Pork Chop

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My first excursion into Chinatown with the Chinatown Chowdown app took me to a scaffolded building at the end of Allen Street. I walked past a crowd of people sitting on the sidewalk waiting for one of those cheap fare buses and knew that I'd never have thought to stop here without a proper guide.

Continue reading "Chinatown: Hua Ji's Pork Chop" »

July 6, 2011

Chowing Down in Chinatown

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I've mentioned before that Chinatown always presents something of a challenge to me. It's chock full of interesting food, but much of it is hidden among mediocrity, esoteric signs and thousands of people knocking into each other.

Still, sometimes i manage come across a yummy surprise like Malaysian jerky shops or egg tarts like i had in Hong Kong that make me want to keep going back to look for more.

Recently, a friend gave me the key to finding the hidden goodies to be found in the neighborhood. Craig Nelson, a friend and fellow food fan developed an app called Chinatown Chowdown, which works as a guide to the area's best food.

It's got listings and reviews and photos as well as a map that'll tell you what's closest to you and how much a cab would cost to get there.

Over the next couple weeks, i plan to try to make it do a little exploring with the app as my guide. I'll be reporting in once a week or so with my finds.

June 29, 2011

Birthday Dinner at M Wells

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The day after my birthday, Eric managed to get me to go to Queens for dinner at M Wells. If you haven't heard about it, well, good, maybe I'll be able to get another meal there before they entirely blow up. That's unlikely, as Sam Sifton already raved about it months ago. I'm weeks late with this post and, honestly, I don't have time to do this meal justice with words. See photos and a quick rundown of our incredible meal after the jump.

Continue reading "Birthday Dinner at M Wells" »

June 8, 2011

The Highline, Section Two opens

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When I got the news yesterday that the second section of The Highline was open, I pretty much darted from my desk. Clearly, an extra long lunch was in order.

The design is more of the same brilliance that makes the southern part such a wonderful place to visit and has some added features including a lawn, a bleacher like seating area, and, below the north end, a food truck fueled snack bar - with beer. So, yeh, it's pretty great.

Get a first look at the space after the jump.

Continue reading "The Highline, Section Two opens" »

June 6, 2011

The Month of May - A Recap

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Whew, what a month! In my long trek toward full-time professional photography, May covered a lot of ground. Forgive the radio silence on the blog, but over the last several weeks, I've photographed events for Esquire, EdibleBrooklyn and a new site called RevJam, I also shot a couple parties and shows for Examiner, took portrait and service photos at Cornerstone Baptist Church for their upcoming website revamp and met more than a few awesome people at events sponsored by Foodspotting. On top of that, I managed to get in a couple shoots for a client that I'm not quite ready to announce yet. In short, things are coming along.

With just a couple days until my birthday, I look at all that has kept me busy over the last month and hope to press even harder in the upcoming year. There is huge opportunity ahead and I plan to make the most out of it. For everyone who's been following along, thanks so much for your support. Stay tuned.

May 26, 2011

Instagram and other Digital Dalliances

#subway #musician at Canal Street Station

This week, through the grace of my lovely wife, I've upgraded my phone from a marginally functional iPhone 3G to an iPhone 4. So far, the best part of having it is that i can finally use the camera again. My previous phone ran so slowly that the camera was more or less useless.

The return to cameraphone photography has introduced me to the wonders of instagram. Many of the photographer friends I respect have been on it for ages, but i wasn't able to play along.

If you follow my twitter feed at all, you'll know that this has changed. In the day or so since i started playing with the app, I've posted dozens of pics. I've been using it so much that it seems like a good way to use my other Tumblr page. Now called Digital Dalliances, it'll mostly focus on the random photos I take with the phone along with some other digital images I find interesting at any given minute.

This may include some of the themes that have been such a hit on Analog UltraClay, like the food series and the current Black and White Bars set. Stay tuned!

May 23, 2011

A first look at Smorgasburg

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While the entire world was making rapture jokes, the food obsessed among us were making what could have been our last eating pilgrimage to the Williamsburg waterfront. If you haven't heard about it, the folks behind the Brooklyn Flea have expanded their food offerings into a new weekly event focused entirely on food called Smorgasburg.

Over the years, the Flea has become a destination as much for its food options than any of the actual market items, so it's no surprise to see a spin off like this. I know I was excited about it.See what was on hand after the jump.

Continue reading "A first look at Smorgasburg" »

May 10, 2011

Analog: Expired Plenachrome

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Last month, with the return of the outdoor Brooklyn Flea, I checked in at Dan's Parent's House, the booth where I picked up the roll of 50+ year old Royal-X Pan film last year. Dan doesn't trade much in film, but had a few old rolls for sale, so I snapped them up.

The photos posted above and after the jump are from a 120mm roll of Plenachrome, made by a company called Ansco. The other day, Tammi and I rode down to Red Hook to enjoy the spring weather and I figured it was as good a time as any to give this old film a try.

Continue reading "Analog: Expired Plenachrome" »

May 9, 2011

Malaysian Jerky in Chinatown

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Reminiscing about last year's trip to Hong Kong inspired me to take a trip to Chinatown the other day. Wandering the area, I tried some egg tarts (more on that later), ogled markets, dodged knock off bag sellers and discovered this shop. They had me at 'jerky!'

Continue reading "Malaysian Jerky in Chinatown" »

May 4, 2011

Analog: Black & White Bars

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In all my analog experiments, I don't often shoot black & white. I just love color too much to act like it isn't there. Yet, occasionally, I come across results like this shot I took at Hanson Dry in Clinton Hill and a couple others (after the jump).

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April 30, 2011

Analog Food Photography

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A couple weeks ago, when I posted about my lunch at Boqueria, I started thinking about analog food photography. I don't often shoot food with film for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the difficult lighting in most restaurants means that I usually need to extended iso and nearly unlimited shots that digital provides. Being able to take 50 photos in a minute or two is often essential in food photography because usually someone is waiting to eat the subject.

Beyond that, digital is sharper, more crisp in a way that many film aficionados aren't so into, but that we tend to desire in images of food. The textures and grain that you get on film are more complex and a bit less sexy that digital - but are really interesting in their own way. I only shoot food with film from time to time, but have gotten some interesting results.

This week on Analog UltraClay, I've decided to explore the topic a bit by spending the next week or so posting an Analog Food series.

April 26, 2011

Analog Spring

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It's that time of year. Spring in New York brings us all out into the streets. We're so happy for a day or two of decent weather that we're out and about as much as possible. Never mind that half the days are chilly and rainy, we're still making plans to go out to the Brooklyn Flea or Habana Outpost or wherever else.

This week on Analog UltraClay, I'm posting spring photos from around town including new Analog Flea photos and a series on Washington Square Park, one of my favorite places to spend time since I was a kid.

April 19, 2011

Analog Subways

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After a bit of a hiatus, I've started posts up on Analog UltraClay again. This week's theme is the subway, featuring film photos from New York's transit system.

Just going through the photos to select which I want to post got me thinking of other stations and compositions I want to try. I picked up a couple rolls of faster film than my go-to Ektar last week, so expect a sequel, possibly as soon as next month. Enjoy!

April 12, 2011

Quick Bite: Porchetta Platter

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A while back, I got a Blackboard Eats coupon for Porchetta in the East Village. I've gone on about my obsession with the Italian roast pork dish in the past. It's delicious. Usually, I get the sandwich, but with the discount, I figured I'd splurge a bit.

This is the Porchetta Platter with beans and cooking greens. And, I got a side of potatoes & burnt ends. Of course, it ended up being more food than I could eat - I took the potatoes home and broiled them up with dinner that night.

March 31, 2011

Bed-Stuy Tour: Dough

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After catching doughnut fever in Chelsea last month, I found myself particularly intrigued when I got word about Dough, a new doughnut shop in Bed-Stuy on the corner of Franklin and Lafayette. Tammi and I peeked in after leaving Bedford Hill last weekend, but sadly found ourselves too stuffed from breakfast to partake. I did take some photos, including a few of some freshly glazed doughnuts going out. Check them out after the jump.

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March 30, 2011

Bed-Stuy Tour: Bedford Hill

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I've been hearing about Bedford Hill since it opened last year, but hadn't made it out until Tammi and I took our Bed-Stuy tour last weekend. It's on Franklin Avenue, on the same block as Sweet Revenge (where we ended the day about 12 hours later) and just blocks away from the border with Clinton Hill.

The initial shock of being the only black folks in the room in the heart of what used to be seriously "'hood" Bed-Stuy faded relatively quickly. The politics of the "Pratt Area" and the wave of gentrification are an nearly a force of nature in New York and I'm not about to blame a place like Bedford Hill for serving the new residents in the area.

If anything, my only complaint about Bedford Hill is how tight the space is. I'm a big guy and walking in in the middle of a rush, I was bumped and jostled every which way, even after I found a seat.

Still, once we had our food and the crowd died down, it was extraordinarily pleasant and my initial urge to flee relaxed. See the food after the jump.

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March 29, 2011

Brooklyn: The Bed-Stuy Tour Part One

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The weather may not quite feel like spring, but despite the cold, the longer days are inspiring me to get outside and do some exploring. Tammi's been taking some classes at the YMCA on Bedford Ave and it's given us an excuse to spend some time wandering that end of Bed-Stuy a bit more.

That's meant brunches at Peaches HotHouse and Black Swan, but also the discovery of a few new places that have been popping up on the radar of late. Last weekend, Tammi and I spent our Saturday over in the corner of the neighborhood that borders Clinton Hill and Williamsburg that's become known as the "Pratt Area" or even, irritatingly "West Bed."

We stopped in some cafes and bars and generally wandered about, meeting up with friends and seeing what's new and noteworthy. See the beginning of our tour after the jump.

Continue reading "Brooklyn: The Bed-Stuy Tour Part One" »

Recently on Examiner: Pharoahe Monch at SOBs

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I've decided that it's about time for me to get back out and shooting for Examiner.com again. Thursday night, I shot Pharoahe Monch perform at the release party for his new album, WAR. One of my earliest shoots for Examiner was a show of his celebrating the 10th anniversary of his first solo at Sputnik. I'm thinking of it as sort of a new beginning.

Examiner doesn't pay particularly well, but the practice of shooting events regularly is really useful. It's been a couple of months since shooting a show and I was surprised at how many little mistakes I made in my preparation that I had down when I was shooting regularly. None of it was insurmountable, but it was all stuff I should have known better. It was a good reminder of why the best thing you can do in photography is to just keep shooting.

March 20, 2011

Brooklyn: Hanson Dry opens in Clinton Hill

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Before I can begin to enjoy Hanson Dry, I have to forgive it first. The new bar on Fulton Street in Clinton Hill occupies the formerly blocked up storefront that hosted one of my favorite graffiti pieces in Brooklyn. The silver ESPO work with the Stevie Wonder quote, "Did you know that true love asks for nothing" was a landmark for me for ages. Months ago, it disappeared behind wooden construction boards. When it was all over, windows had returned and a new bar, Hanson Dry was open for business.

I'd love to trash it for being gentrifying nonsense with annoying clientele, but I actually quite enjoyed it. Last week, Tammi and I went and stuck around several rounds longer than intended listening to the bartender's iPod selections and relaxing. The music could have been titled 'the best of Clay's college years' and led to my assertion that 1996 was the best year for hip-hop and R&B potentially in the entire decade.

The strip of Fulton between Vanderbuilt and Franklin has been on the verge for some time. With Bar Olivino, Hot Bird around the corner and new bars like Hanson Dry popping up, this might be the moment.

March 14, 2011

Recently on Midtown Lunch: Doughnuts and Barbecue

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What you see here is a jelly doughnut from the new Doughnut Plant in Chelsea. After years of being told how good this place was, I finally had to give it a try. The result is that I'm hooked. The yeast doughnuts in particular are enough to make you want to go protest the local dunkin for lying to us all these years about what a doughnut really is.

While in the Chelsea area, I also took some time to celebrate the moderating weather with Barbecue at RUB and a survey of the Flatiron area food trucks, in hopes of encouraging some outdoor eating.

March 10, 2011

Cambodian Cuisine Returns - in a truck

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Longtime Brooklynites, may remember the Cambodian Cuisine restaurant that stood prominently in the middle of pre-gentrified Fort Greene. It's giant sign stood out and, well before pho and banh mi became common parlance in the food world, it was one of the only Southeast Asian places outside of the city's three Chinatowns.

It's long since closed and the location has been the home of Smoke Joint, the barbecue-centered sibling of Peaches and Peaches Hothouse.

I had only ever been to Cambodian Cuisine a few times and only really remembered it as a landmark of a lost time. Regardless, I have wondered, from time to time, what ever became of them. Last week, I found out when I stumbled upon their newly launched food truck, Cambodian Cuisine Torsu across from Washington Square Park in The Village.

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March 7, 2011

Fatty Johnson - gone, but not forgotten

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This weekend, Tammi and I finally got a chance to check out Fatty Johnson, the pop-up restaurant in the space where Cabrito used to be at 50 Carmine Street in The Village. This was cutting it down to the wire, as they finished up service there yesterday. The meal was great and made me wish I'd headed there earlier so I could have tried more of the food.

Check out what we had after the jump.

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February 18, 2011

In The Kitchen: Valentine's Day Dinner

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Monday night, Tammi and I skipped the amateur night crowds of Valentine's Day and had a nice meal at home together. I took a page from Amanda Hesser's recent New York Times Magazine piece on the standing rib roast and decided I wanted to try it at home. the final product came out wonderfully, but that was after having to make some last minute changes.

See more about how it went after the jump.

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February 11, 2011

Recently on Examiner: Jazz & Donuts

Gregory Porter celebrates Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocalist

It's been a minute since I've posted anything on Examiner. There were many technical difficulties on the site that were making it less and less worth my time. Still, I don't want to let it fade away, so I recently got out to shoot a couple events.

Earlier this week, I shot a show by Gregory Porter at East Village club, Drom. Gregory and I know each other from the neighborhood and his brother Lloyd, the owner of Bread Stuy let us know about it. Gregory was nominated for the Best Jazz Vocalist Grammy and wanted to celebrate with a performance for friends and neighbors.

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Analog: 1600 Speed

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When I was in Hong Kong, I picked up a roll of ISO 1600 film in the hopes of using it for some interesting shots at night at Angkor Wat. That never happened, but when I got home, I found a dark and snowy city perfect for high speed film.

The results are interesting. Being able to shoot on a gloomy, overcast day without opening the aperture all the way or having to slow the shutter down too far. Check out Analog UltraClay for more ISO 1600 shots from this roll and some others from a while back.

January 25, 2011

In The Kitchen: Broiled Whole Branzino

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In pursuit of my goal of eating and cooking more fish, I decided to order some in a recent FreshDirect order. Part of my difficulty with fish is that I have a hard time keeping track of what fish have which textures. Some are firm, some or soft and mushy, some are oily and strongly flavored. I still don't have a lot in the way of a point of reference. So, I decided to go with the less imaginative option and just try to recreate the dish I had at Eataly the other day.

I ordered a whole branzino, just like I had there, butterflied and deboned. See how it went after the jump...

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January 22, 2011

Analog: Party Polaroids at Brooklyn Bowl

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Yesterday afternoon, I got a last minute request to shoot Roots DJ Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson's 40th Birthday party at Brooklyn Bowl. Even now, I'm desperately trying to play it cool as though this is the sort of thing that happens to me all the time, but I admit that I was pretty ecstatic at the opportunity. As a long time fan of The Roots in general, Questlove in particular and Brooklyn Bowl as a venue, I have to say the whole experience was gratifying.

Photographically, the most interesting part of the night was that the request specified that they wanted Polaroids (or at least "Polaroids," most instant film cameras are Fujis). I used a Fuji Instax 270,I believe. It was the 'wide' version, which shoots the traditional size prints as opposed to the more common 'mini' models that print narrow, business card-sized photos.

I've never played with Polaroids in the past and, though generally understanding the appeal of instant analog prints, always worried that it would just lead to obsession and a million individual prints would accumulate, unscanned because I hate scanning and thus not particularly useful in the digital world. All of that is pretty accurate and I'm resisting the urge to blow my payment for the gig on one of these cameras for myself and a ton of film.

Shooting with it was interesting. The learning curve was fairly shallow, it is made to be very simple to use after all. My biggest problem is that the film packs only hold 10 exposures at a time. Shooting an event and having to stop every 10 shots can be cumbersome. The other issue is that the prints take longer to 'develop' that I ever expected. It takes nearly 5 minutes for an image to completely materialize. That can be a lot of time to lose the spontaneity of a moment. Even so, the photos I saw - I turned in the whole batch at the end of the night - were inspiring. I might have to risk obsession and add another toy to my collection one of these days.

January 18, 2011

In The Kitchen: Improvised Lamb Ribs, Fatty Cue style

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Back in those far-flung days or warmth and happiness that I like to call 'summertime,' I came across Sam Sifton's 'The Cheat' column featuring Fatty Cue's delicious rib recipe. Given how much I enjoyed the meals I've had there, I was very excited about trying it out. But then I never managed to get out and do much barbecuing last summer and my window passed. Now it's ridiculously cold and I can't even get my back door open through all the snow.

Instead, I improvised my own take on the recipe using lamb ribs and letting my slow cooker do most of the work. The result doesn't have any of the smokiness that insinuates itself into every tender scrap of meat at the restaurant, but it's something I can make now without having to wait for the thaw. Check out the step by step after the jump.

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January 16, 2011

Food Finds: Top Shelf

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Grand Street, Chinatown, NYC. 2010.

December 31, 2010

Learning about fish at Eataly's Pesce

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As I've said in years past, I don't really do resolutions as such, but on my list of things to learn more about for the last couple of years has been cooking and eating fish. Yeah, yeah, health blah blah blah. It's good for me, but it's also a whole area of food that up until now I've been woefully unfamiliar about.

So, the week before Christmas, Tammi and I took a break from shopping and stopped in at Eataly for lunch at Pesce, the seafood restaurant by Esca chef, Dave Pasternack. Check out the courses after the jump...


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December 29, 2010

In the Kitchen: The best way to render lard at home

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The star of my Christmas haul this year has to be the meat grinder Tammi bought for me. After I read about the Alfa MC5 on Michael Ruhlman's holiday gift guide, it immediately made it to the top of my wishlist.

Once I opened it up, my first task was clear: grinding up some fatback to render lard. See the hows and wherefores after the jump.

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December 21, 2010

Lunch: How does Paris Sandwich stand up to the Banh Mi in Saigon?

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After writing up my Five Tips for Eating Banh Mi in Saigon, I found myself craving another Vietnamese sandwich. On my last trip down to Chinatown, when I went to Banh Mi Saigon, I noticed Paris Sandwich across the street and added it to my mental to-do list, so this time I decided to give it a try...


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December 17, 2010

The Stoned Crow Closing its Doors

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Sorry to interrupt the long string of Asia travel posts, but I just heard this and want to spread the word.

I've got bad news for longtime barflies and burger lovers: Greenwich Village bar, The Stoned Crow is closing at the end of the year. If you know the bar, you're already making plans to head over there now. If you don't, here's why you need to go.

For years, The Stoned Crow has been slinging one of the best burgers in town with little of the hype that has made nearly every other good burger in town an ordeal to get a hold of.

In part, the place stayed under the radar by sitting on a quiet block, away from the hustle and hassle of nearby Bleeker and MacDougal Streets. In fact, you've most likely passed it by on the way to Washington Square Park, neighboring Blue Hill or even the Radio Shack on the corner.

Go inside and you'll be rewarded with a laid-back atmosphere, a beer selection that includes some craft beers but doesn't obsess over it and a pretty amazing burger.

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December 13, 2010

Analog: Airport Security

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Tammi and I landed back home in New York yesterday from Hong Kong. I've got plenty to post about and hope to get them flowing out of there next week or two.

Over the last couple weeks, we've been on 10 flights through six countries and dealt with countless different stages of airport security. Ever since I started shooting film, one of the biggest potential hassles has been dealing with airport security.

X Rays can severely damage the emulsion on film in a way that can totally screw your images. Now, the first thing any screener will say is that it'll only affect film that's faster than ISO 800 or even 1600. What none of them understands is that slower film isn't invulnerable to X Rays, it's just that it takes more passes to do the same damage because it's less sensitive.

I've read that it takes five passes to damage 100 speed film the way one pass damages a faster roll. Given that we've passed through maybe a dozen security checkpoints on this trip, the hazard is still there.

In one of the few compliments I've ever really considered about the TSA, I will say that they invariably will do a proper manual swab of my film without giving me a hard time.

Less so in Japan, above, where the security guy at Narita insisted on opening up and visually inspecting each of my 20+ rolls. In the end, it's better than the Cambodian guard who insisted that I put my one roll of 1600 speed film in the x-ray because the sign said it was 'film-safe.' I haven't shot it yet, so we'll have to see how it comes out when I get home.

November 28, 2010

JFK: Croque Madame Opens

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Hanging out at the airport waiting for a flight isn't something people typically look forward to, but when I read that Andrew Carmellini of Locanda Verde was going to be a part of a new collection of restaurants and bars in JFK's Terminal 2, I immediately suggested that we get a jump on all that Thanksgiving traffic as we headed to Hong Kong.

It didn't hurt that it is located directly across from that bastion of high end mediocrity, Bonfire, my longtime nemesis in Delta Terminal eats.

Despite all the threats of passenger protests over TSA security measures, we more or less zipped through leaving a couple hours to spare before our flight. All the more time to explore the menu and have what turned out to be the first adventure of our trip. Sparks literally flew. Check it out after the jump.

Continue reading "JFK: Croque Madame Opens" »

November 22, 2010

Self-Promotion: I'm profiled in today's NY Post @Work

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If you look on page 38 of today's New York Post, you'll find me looking back at you. I was profiled as part of their @work column in a piece about workers around town who have 'unusual' lunch habits, mine being seeking out new foods and restaurants for Midtown Lunch. Sadly, my photo didn't make the web edition. I'll try to scan it in some time today and post it.

I have to say, it was interesting being on the other side of a photoshoot. Lorenzo the photographer and I wandered back and forth through Koreatown looking for proper backdrops.


Update: See the scan of the printed version after the jump!

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November 19, 2010

Lunch: Banh Mi Saigon

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Even though I still have five days left before our trip to Asia starts, my mind has been 8,000 miles away for days. It's pretty much all I can think about.

Yesterday, my mental wandering took me on a trip far out of my usual bounds down to Chinatown to get a Vietnamese sandwich from Banh Mi Saigon, one of the old favorites in the banh mi craze. I'd never been there, but happened upon it a few nights ago and decided I had to return. Having rated first place in the Midtown Lunch Banh mi-palooza in the spring was definitely a good enough reference for me. Read on for the porky goodness.

Continue reading "Lunch: Banh Mi Saigon" »

November 18, 2010

Analog: Long Expired Kodak Royal-X Pan

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In all my analog experimenting, I've only played with expired film once or twice. The only notable results I found were with a roll I shot in Hawai'i that I posted about last year.

Last weekend at "Dan's Parent's House" at the Brooklyn Flea, I came across this single roll of 120mm Royal-X Pan film. The box was still sealed and the stamp on the side said 'develop before December 1959.'

The vendor, Dan told me he had no idea if it was any good, so gave it to me for $3.

Check out the results after the jump.

Continue reading "Analog: Long Expired Kodak Royal-X Pan " »

November 16, 2010

Lunch at The John Dory Oyster Bar

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Today I strayed from my path of finding Midtown Lunch priced dishes in order to partake in some deliciousness from under the sea at the new John Dory Oyster Bar at the Ace Hotel.

The meal was a splurge to be sure, but was absolutely worth it. In the name of posting this now rather than waiting to make time to bloviate about each course, I'm going to post the courses after the jump with some brief notes. Enjoy!

Continue reading "Lunch at The John Dory Oyster Bar" »

November 15, 2010

In The Kitchen: Lamb Chili

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If you follow my Twitter feed, you've already heard a bit about this. Last weekend, I decided to take my cooking urges to new, improvised places. I was struck with the idea of making lamb chili with very little idea of how it would come out, but thinking that lamby flavors would make for a great meal in this chilly weather.

See the hows and wherefores after the jump.

Continue reading "In The Kitchen: Lamb Chili" »

November 12, 2010

The Best Camera

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I was bored on a recent commute and rediscovered the Best Camera app by Chase Jarvis. Based on his book "The Best Camera is The One That's With You," the app is a collection of filters and effects for your cameraphone pics.

After the jump check out some of the results of a train ride worth of playing with recent photos from the air show in Daytona Beach, wandering about town and (at the bottom) a couple potentially NSFW pics from the Arms Drawn party a few weeks back

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November 11, 2010

Photography: The Red Carpet

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Last night I covered my first red carpet event at the opening of the Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council's film festival. Indian and Indian-American actors, filmmakers and celebrities came through, posed for us and moved on to do video interviews and onto the event.

Like every shoot, I walked away with a better understanding of what's needed to be a photographer. See my takeaway and a few more shots from my first try as a 'paparazzi' after the jump.

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November 10, 2010

Analog: Shooting with the Kiev 88

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In my exploration in shooting analog, medium format has fascinated me. That's most likely because it's sort of arcane and the frames are big and square. Unfortunately, I've had a pretty unfortunate track record shooting 120mm film - thus far at least. That's finally starting to change thanks to the the Kiev 88.

Read more about the Kiev after the jump and see photos I've taken with it on Analog UltraClay all week.

Continue reading "Analog: Shooting with the Kiev 88" »

November 8, 2010

Moe's Closing?

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Word on the internets is that Fort Greene's neighborhood bar, Moe's may be closing due to an astronomical rent increase. A lot of things can happen between now and February, so I'm not giving up hope just yet.

NY Marathon 2010

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Yesterday was a great day for a marathon. The weather was chilly, but with the sun out, it was gorgeous. Tammi even came out after being inspired watching it on TV. We watched and cheered from our usual perch in Fort Greene.

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As always the race brings out a great crowd with music and fun. Check out more photos from the race after the jump.

Continue reading "NY Marathon 2010" »

November 7, 2010

Analog: Gowanus

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Continuing with the Street Photography theme on Analog UltraClay, the last couple of days has been all about Gowanus. Around the end of the summer, I found myself in the border areas of the Gowanus on the subway, on foot and on the bike quite a bit. I took the opportunity to explore a bit.

Check it out.

Marathon Day

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It's marathon day in New York again. I'm about to head to our usual spot in Fort Greene on Lafayette in front of Moe's to watch the runners.

Tammi doesn't feel like being out in the cold, so I'm going solo. It's funny to think that I had never paid any attention to the marathon before Tammi and I started dating. She got me hooked though, now I can't imagine not being in the middle of all of it, even without her.

November 5, 2010

Bed-Stuy: Therapy Wine Bar seeking full liquor license

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According to Citizen Who, Therapy Wine Bar just got community board approval for a full liquor license. That's pretty big news in my part of Bed-Stuy, an area where the only real bar for maybe half a mile is Casablanca Lounge, the old man bar down the block from me.

Open for over a year now, I was pretty excited when I first heard about Therapy opening on Lewis Avenue. Tammi and I have been there a few times and I've gone in by myself for a glass of wine and to get a little work done.

See a bit more of what's inside after the jump.

Continue reading "Bed-Stuy: Therapy Wine Bar seeking full liquor license" »

November 4, 2010

It's Cooking Weather

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With apologies to Ruhlman for blatantly ripping off his old logo, I was inspired to take this photo as I've been spending a lot more time in the kitchen lately. The cooling weather has my nesting instincts. As I've been in the house more working on portfolios and plotting my entry into the photography business, I've also been cooking more. There's been braising, roasting, making stocks and I even made my first risotto. (Lesson learned, cook hotter, stir more, but definitely use the cheese rind stock again.)

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When in North Carolina last month, I cooked for a dozen or so people, the biggest audience I've had maybe all year. The big challenge was that I had to feed vegetarians and people with gluten allergies, hence the veggie stock prep above. It was a ton of fun and has only encouraged me to want to cook more. Hopefully one day I'm figure out how to cook and shoot at the same time and I could then actually blog about that from time to time. Here's hoping.

November 1, 2010

Arms Drawn Recap

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Last week Wednesday night at Madame X, the Arms Drawn party went off without a hitch. A great crowd came out to support and enjoy the art and have fun. Mademoiselle Lena, above came in and posed for artists and audience alike in the drink & draw. In the end, the party-goers voted decisively for the team of photographers to win the prize of the evening. See the whole set of photos from the show, including some that may be NSFW.

The show will be up at Madame X for for another week, so stop through and check out my work there. And of course, my Seasonal Brooklyn show is still up at Peaches in Bed-Stuy. See all the pieces in the show at claywilliamsphoto.com.

Madame X, 94 W. Houston Street, Greenwich Village, NYC.

October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

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I'm not one to dress up for Halloween, but as a photographer, I've certainly enjoyed watching everyone else do their thing. In fact, I had big plans to run around this weekend shooting all the costumes and parties and drunken festivities. Yet, Friday night, I was at the office and last night we spent the evening at home watching movies and drinking wine.

Tonight, I do hope to make it out to the Halloween parade in the village and maybe to a couple parties as well as catching my awesome godchild Asher dressed up as a giraffe.

These days I'm trying to balance my hustle with thinking ahead and putting in groundwork. There's no use going out every night shooting if I'm not taking the time to get the business side of things right.

I spent the last couple days going to the Photo Plus Expo looking through printing houses and equipment suppliers and many, many wedding-related vendors that I hope to offer to clients in the next year.

Analog: Street Photography

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One of the interesting side effects of shooting film has been a return to some of the subjects I used to shoot a lot more of when I was just playing around rather than shooting for assignments or blog posts.

I've been especially into returning to street photography in the last few months. Candid street shots can capture so much in a moment.

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After spending the last week posting nature photos from North Carolina on Analog UltraClay, I'm switching my focus to more urban environs.

If you're on Tumblr, I'd love to hear feedback on my work in comments or faves.

October 22, 2010

Bed-Stuy: Liquid Oz Opens

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After much anticipation, Liquid Oz, the cafe and wine bar from the guys who run Oz Home and Hardware opened up last weekend. Tammi and I are particularly excited since it's literally around the corner from our place. Tammi claims she may never make coffee at home again.

Get a closer look at the place after the jump.


Continue reading "Bed-Stuy: Liquid Oz Opens" »

October 20, 2010

Self Promotion: Arms Drawn at Madame X

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Well, there certainly a lot happening on the self-promotion front lately. In addition to my big show at Peaches, Seasonal Brooklyn, I also have three photos up at Madame X as a part of Arms Drawn.

The show is split between photographers and illustrators in a sort of competition. A week from today, the night of Wednesday, October 27th, we'll be throwing a party at Madame X and inviting all to join in on the fun. There will be a raffle and we'll ask everyone to vote for their favorite 'team.' A model will be there posing for illustrators and anyone else to join in on the fun.

For more information, check out the event page on Facebook.

Madame X, 94 W. Houston Street, Greenwich Village, NYC.

October 16, 2010

Analog Flea: Kat Flower

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Ever since Kat Flower started selling at the Brooklyn Flea, I've made a point of stopping by, shooting some of the gorgeous flowers and asking Kathleen, the owner to put together something nice for me to take home to Tammi. I've never been a flower person, but I love the interesting shapes and colors of the selection here.

See more of my favorites under Analog Flea on my film photo blog, Analog UltraClay.

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October 15, 2010

Self-Promotion: Seasonal Brooklyn

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So, one of the various things that's been keeping me busy and not blogging is that I've been working on a new show. I'm happy to announce that Seasonal Brooklyn is now up at Peaches here in Bed-Stuy.

The work on display is all Brooklyn, mostly within a couple blocks of the restaurant and highlights the area through the seasons. Over the course of next week, I'll be posting the film photos from the show on Analog UltraClay along with a few others that didn't make it up.

The prints this time around are much bigger than at the Habana Outpost show and I'm loving how they look. If you are in the neighborhood this weekend, stop in at Peaches, grab a snack and take a look.

All photos are for sale. Contact me directly at photog at ultraclay dotcom or via my portfolio site.

October 8, 2010

The Queen of Williamsburg

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Last year, I was walking down Bedford Ave in Williamsburg playing with a rented lens when I heard from behind me, "You wanna take my picture?"

I was a little surprised, but I turned around and took a couple photos of her. I'm glad she called out to me, she's got so much personality in her appearance. I don't do a lot of portraits - at least not when the subject knows I'm shooting, so I'm happy that this shot came out as well as it did.

Recently, I found out that this lady's name is Leonora Russo and she's quite the celebrity in the neighborhood. In the last month or so, she's been profiled in both The L Magazine and Time Out New York. It turns out there's even a movie about her called The Queen of Williamsburg.

In an area that's so notorious for pushing out the natives, it's awesome that someone like her not just holds out there, but seems to thrive on the new population.

October 7, 2010

Morini Preview Dinner

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Last night, I took Eric out for his birthday. He managed to get us hooked up with reservations for Morini, the Osteria by Chef Michael White in Nolita. We had an amazing meal of antipasti, pastas and porchetta - not to mention a tasty dessert wine.

Check out the visual tasting tour of the meal after the jump.

Continue reading "Morini Preview Dinner" »

October 6, 2010

Self-Promotion: Analog UltraClay

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With all the analog photos I've been working on lately, I've found myself in the situation of either cramming way more images into a blog post than really fits or holding back a ton of images that I'm really proud of. I phased out the POTD on the blog a couple years ago because I felt that solo photos tended to distract from the other content on the site.

So, now I'm launching a Tumblr site called, imaginatively enough "Analog UltraClay" to regularly post my film photography. My plan is to use the new blog to integrate with the subjects I've been covering here in a way that takes advantage of both platforms.

In particular, I'm hoping that using Tumblr will facilitate more discussion and feedback about the images, while I'll be writing about photography more in depth here, discussing technology, techniques and my observations and projects. If you're on Tumblr, I'd love it if you followed the new blog and let me know what you think of it.

As the photo indicates, it's all still 'Under Construction,' so feel free to let me know what you think I should do with it.


October 5, 2010

Weddings: Lais & Abe

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As I prepare for another friend's wedding this weekend, I realize I never posted about the Wedding of Lais & Abe's wedding in August.

It was particularly special to me for a couple reasons, fret and foremost because the two of them met at a party Tammi and I threw a couple years ago. What better way to bring people together than over a roasted pig carcass? Tammi and I got a shout out in the program, which was pretty excellent.

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Another reason I was particularly excited about their wedding was the location. I went to school across from the Brooklyn Historical Society for nearly a decade and had never once step foot in that gorgeous old building.

The light there was dim, but I think I pulled off some good shots. Check them out after the jump.

Continue reading "Weddings: Lais & Abe" »

October 4, 2010

Carnivora by Jason Covert

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Life has been quite busy lately, hence the lack of regular posts. I'm working on a couple other things that may make it a little sporadic for a while longer, more on that later.

Among the things keeping me busy was the opening of Carnivora, a mixed media show by artist and friend Jason Covert. The show, a reflection of gods, nature and humanity goes on through Thursday, October 8th at the new gallery +ART (540 W 28th St). The closing party is Thursday night, October 7th.

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When Jason, seen here with his muse and girlfriend, Nicole, hired me to photograph the opening events I was very excited. To be hired to shoot by another photographer is pretty much the highest compliment I can get at this stage in my career. These days so many people want you to shoot for free, it was wonderful to have someone who knows the field and understands the value of the service to say that they appreciate my work and are willing to pay me for it.

That is all also to say that I am indeed available for hire to shoot events and openings. See more photos of the gallery, the work and the events after the jump.

Continue reading "Carnivora by Jason Covert" »

September 29, 2010

Analog Flea: Red Windows

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Analog Flea: Film photos from The Brooklyn Flea, Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

September 23, 2010

Food Finds: Admiration Mayonnaise

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Curry Cart, Midtown, NYC. 2010.

September 21, 2010

More Night Photography with the Canon 5D Mark II

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The taxi ride home from a late night at the office or on the town often inspires me to take out the camera and try to capture some of the world whizzing by me. This fails more often than it succeeds, but with the 5D Mark II, my odds have definitely been better. Here are a couple more. See the first set here.

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September 20, 2010

Analog Flea: Owls

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Analog Flea: Film photos from The Brooklyn Flea, Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

September 14, 2010

Analog Flea: Chess Pieces

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Analog Flea: Film photos from The Brooklyn Flea, Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

September 13, 2010

Self-Promotion: Lonely Planet NYC

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I'm very excited to announce that the photo above from Harefield Road in Williamsburg was used in the new edition of the New York City Guide from Lonely Planet.

This will go up on my bookshelf alongside Everyman's Joyce, Off The Chain, New York: A Photographic Album, Untitled: Street Art in the Counter Culture, and last year's Queens International 4.

Onward.

September 10, 2010

Analog Flea: Flags

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Analog Flea: Film photos from The Brooklyn Flea, Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

Quick Bite: Sausage at The Vanderbuilt

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It's been a little while since I posted any food porn, so here's a quick bite of a couple sausages we had at Prospect Heights' The Vanderbuilt. Above is smokey kielbasa with chickpeas, below, merguez, served on a bed of couscous. Delicious.

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The Vanderbuilt, 570 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn. 718.623.0570

September 9, 2010

Greg Stamper Sings

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Last month, my friend Greg Stamper gathered friend and family to the release party for his new album, "One with You." Greg is a talented singer, which is something I had no idea about when we worked together as computer techs years ago.

As I pursue my own passions beyond the office life that I've lived for the last decade, it's completely inspiring to see Greg doing his thing.

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Analog Flea: Keys

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Analog Flea: Film photos from The Brooklyn Flea, Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

September 8, 2010

The Brooklyn Flea brings back memories

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I'm behind the times in wholeheartedly embracing the Brooklyn Flea. I've been a fan since its inception, but somehow never quite made it over there very often. Lately though, I've found myself there weekly and loving the experience for all the new and old sensations they evoke.

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First, the history. Back before the development boom put giant condos on every block, the strip of 6th Avenue between 23rd Street and, say, 30th Street was home to what seemed like a dozen parking lots that all turned into big open air markets on the weekends. Vendors hawked old comic books, toys, antiques, camera, radio and electronic equipment and all sorts of other hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.

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Second, there's all the food. The food vendors of the flea have banded together and besides being a destination on the weekends at the two Flea locations, they also sold food at Central Park Summerstage shows all summer. More on that to come.

I was going to try to do one post about the Flea and I realized that I couldn't really do it. Since I've been shooting analog on the weekends, I have accrued quite a few photos of the Flea on film. Over the next month or so, I'll post Analog Flea pics every couple days as part of my Ektar 300 series. some will include commentary, so will speak for themselves.

Stay tuned.

September 6, 2010

Eataly: The Staff

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The big story of the moment in the food world is the opening of Eataly, Mario Batali's transplanting of an Italian mega-market to New York. The gigantic space has restaurants, a bakery, a book store and a wine shop interspersed with market spaces selling meat, charcuterie & cheeses, gelato, produce and various other groceries.

The size and spectacle of the place alone is enough to work the eaterati into a lather. I know I was excited. So, Tuesday night, I joined the hordes and scoped out the lunch-worthy options for Midtown Lunch.

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The whole wide internet seems to be reporting on this place right now, so I'll dispense with that except to say that the food is great, the place is huge and it can be more than a little confusing to get around - especially when it's jammed with hundreds of other pushy foodies who absolutely need to be there right away.

That said, I thought I'd dedicate this Labor Day post to the remarkably attentive and friendly staff. More photos of these folks at work, including a spot check in the pizza kitchen from Molto Mario himself after the jump.

Continue reading "Eataly: The Staff" »

August 23, 2010

Quick Bite: Dim Sum at Jing Fong

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Some photos from Dim Sum in Chinatown the other day.

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Continue reading "Quick Bite: Dim Sum at Jing Fong" »

August 18, 2010

Freedom, First and Foremost

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When I started this blog, I made a conscious effort to avoid spending too much time on politics. Anyone who's heard me rant about the state of the world, the country or the city knows that I have ... strong opinions

More than 3 years later, I'm surprised at how much restraint I've managed. Don't worry, I don't plan to start including my partisan invective in my food, photos and travel posts.

That said, my friend Yelena has no such compunctions against loudly proclaiming her opinions on all sorts of topics and I often (if not always) agree with her. Today in particular, which is the point of this post.

This morning she revealed the one value that she holds fundamentally above all else: The First Amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Read the post for her particularly awesome take on the subject of our most innate of freedoms. For my part, I'll let the words stand on their own.

August 17, 2010

Analog Bed-Stuy: Saraghina

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I've been excited about Saraghina since their opening a year ago. Yet, for some reason, I haven't managed to post about it despite thoroughly enjoying many a meal there. I seem to have a block on it.

Today, I'm hoping to circumvent that block by just posting some visuals as part of my Analog and Bed-Stuy projects. Really though, the place photographs amazingly well. It's an eclectic space decorated with strange and interesting signs and objects on the walls and dangling from the ceilings.

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The food is also quite nice to look at, if you can spare the moment to shoot before tearing into it. See some of the food and more of the space after the jump. Most of these were taken with Ektar film, except for the final, which was shot months ago with Fuji Velvia.

Continue reading "Analog Bed-Stuy: Saraghina" »

August 11, 2010

Quick Bite: Hot House Fried Chicken

Nashville-style fried chicken at Peaches Hothouse in Bed-Stuy

Dinner the other night at Peaches Hothouse over in our old section of Bed-Stuy.

The chicken is still magnificent, with a kick that left me sweating. On the side was bacon cream corn, which helped cool me down a little.

While we were there, the Cooking Channel was there filming for one of their shows. Given that (evil) Cablevision doesn't carry the Cooking Channel, I expect no one in the neighborhood will see it.

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One note about the chicken. Those spices are killer and will get on your hands. Be sure to wash them before changing contacts or touching any sensitive bits. I'll just leave it at that.

August 10, 2010

Analog Bed-Stuy: Brooklynite Gallery

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Eurotrash opening party, Brooklynite Gallery, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. June 2010.

These are a few analog scenes from the June opening at Brooklynite Gallery. The gallery has been open for a couple years now and has not, as many initially feared, transformed the neighborhood into Williamsburg.

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Owners Rae and Hope McGrath, who live in Bed-Stuy, keep the neighborhood involved in their shows and parties. Nearly every event features musical performances out on Malcolm X Boulevard, drawing the attention of neighbors and passersby. The parties also often bring some legends in Hip-hop to DJ, which I certainly appreciate.

I've seen Prince Paul, Hank Shocklee and most recently DJ Rehka, whose Basement Bhangra party SOBs had forever been on my New York 'to-do' list. At the gallery they took it a step further and had a group of traditional dancers - along with local kids dancing to the mix of hip-hop, reggae and Bhangra rhythms.

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I also appreciate the fact that it's close to home - being a block away means that even when I'm exhausted, it's no trouble to go out to check out the show and shoot the party.

The next show, opening on September 4th features artists Eelus and C215, an amazing stencil artist that I've been a big fan of for years.

Brooklynite Gallery, 334 Malcolm X Boulevard, Brooklyn, NY 11233. 347.405.5976

August 9, 2010

Recently on Examiner: Shows Shows Shows

Nneka at Highline Ballroom

The last few weeks have involved a lot of burning the candle at both ends, shooting late night shows and getting up bright and early to get to the office. Sooner or later I'm going to crash, but for now, enjoy the photos.

Monday night, I was in the meatpacking district shooting Afro-German singer, Nneka and Sierra Leone rap group Bajah + Dry Eye Crew, who I saw on one of my earliest shoots last year.

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The next day, I was at Brooklyn Bowl covering the monthly Talib Kweli and Friends show. Despite a late start that had some in ill spirits and me wondering how I was going to wake up in the morning, the show was worth the wait. Having grown up with 90's Hip-hop, I was blown away by the guests he brought through that night. The whole Boot Camp Click was on stage rocking Who Got The Props, Bucktown and more. Mister Man, of the much slept-on Bush Babees came through performing his verse from Fortified Live with Kweli. I definitely want to go next month just to see who else he'll manage to bring out.

After the jump, MJ Impersonators, elaborately fake rockstars, mermaids playing with fire and more.

Continue reading "Recently on Examiner: Shows Shows Shows" »

August 7, 2010

Analog Bed-Stuy: Flora

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Forgive me if I end up sounding like a shill for Kodak, but with 300 rolls of Ektar to go through, it's pretty much the only film I expect to shoot with for some time.

That said, the fine grain of Ektar is particularly good for plants. If brings out the tones and character of leaves and flowers that are just not as interesting (to me) taken digitally.

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Here and after the jump are some of the flora and still life photos I've been taking around Bed-Stuy of late. Still life isn't my strong suit, but I like what i came up with here.

Continue reading "Analog Bed-Stuy: Flora" »

August 6, 2010

Pig Roast at The Breslin

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When I last mentioned The Breslin, I wasn't so pleased. The scene of 'sophisticated' frat-boys doesn't do anything for me and the fact that the 'gatekeepers' types stand between me and really magnificent food only made me that much more resentful.

I hadn't been there since my early visits, though I'm regularly tempted. That is until I got the note that The Tower of Justice was gathering friends there for a pig roast as a part of his Bachelor Party weekend of gluttony. The TOJ has guided me, again and again through some of the best food on the west coast, so he is definitely one for picking the right meals and this one was spot on.

Snooty host station and a douchey clientele can only keep me from so much deliciousness before I breakdown and eat some pig. After the jump, see how the pig above turn into this:

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Also, check out the brain shot (last one if you'd prefer to skip). It was the first brain I've ever tasted. It was interesting in texture, sort of pasty. The rest of the meal was amazing - as would be expected. The shoulder offered the juiciest, most succulent portions of meat, but, really, it was all amazing. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be able to hold up my avoidance of trendy jackasses and pissy hostesses for very long after that meal.

Continue reading "Pig Roast at The Breslin" »

August 4, 2010

Quick Bite: Fried Chicken at Blue Ribbon Sushi

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Blue Ribbon Sushi, Columbus Circle, NYC. 2010.

August 2, 2010

Analog Bed-Stuy

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As I try to phase analog photography back into my life, I'm hoping to strike a better balance that I did last year. My Ektar 300 windfall is great, but carrying around two, three, four cameras all the time and shooting dozens of film rolls a week isn't feasible or economical.

So, I'm trying to limit my film shooting to leisure time when I'm not planning on shooting anything for Examiner or Midtown Lunch. Lately, that's mostly just been when I've been around the neighborhood in Bed-Stuy.

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It's been interesting looking through the photos I've taken so far. I've lived in Bed-Stuy for almost 25 years and I really don't photograph the area very much. That's unfortunate since there's so much to shoot in the neighborhood. I'm hoping to take the opportunity to appreciate more of the visuals around me by shooting more in the area.

The top was shot with my EOS 1-N, the bottom with my Diana Mini. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll post more here and there from around the neighborhood, so will just include one or two, others will have several.

See a couple more after the jump.

Continue reading "Analog Bed-Stuy" »

July 29, 2010

Quick Bite: Cabrito's Border Dog

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Last year, I lamented the fact that I chickened out on trying the bacon-wrapped hot dogs in Los Angeles. The other day, I finally got a chance to try a version of it.

Among the tasty happy hour specials at Cabrito are a selection of 'Border Dogs,' that is, bacon-wrapped hot dogs with yummy toppings including the guac and chicharrones you see here.

The special also includes a Dos Equis, which I'd just as soon skipped in favor of one of the better drink options. Really though, it didn't matte what I washed it down with, it was glorious.

July 28, 2010

Quick Bite: No. 7 Tacos

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Pork shoulder tacos at No. 7, Fort Greene, Brooklyn. 2010.

July 23, 2010

Maialino

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After the success of last week's visual food tour of our meal at Williamsburg's Fatty Cue, I decided to similarly catch up on my meal at Danny Meyer's Maialino. Tammi took me there last month for my birthday and we had a fantastic time.

As with all of Meyer's restaurants, the service was amazing and course after course, the food was delicious.

See the photos after the jump.

Continue reading "Maialino" »

Photo-Geekery: Night Photography with the Canon 5D Mark II

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One of the spiffy features of the Canon 5D Mark II is that it has can shoot at an astronomically high ISO with much less noise interference in the image than one would expect.

Recently I decided to test it out a little bit and see how effective it can be by doing some night shooting out the window of a taxi on the way home after a late shift at the office.

The photo above is dark and silhouetted, sure, but at 5000 ISO, it's remarkably crisp and noise-less. All of the photos have been tweaked to some degree in Aperture, but none beyond recognition.

After the jump see a couple photos where I pushed the camera up to 25600, the maximum setting.

Continue reading "Photo-Geekery: Night Photography with the Canon 5D Mark II" »

July 21, 2010

The Limelight Resurrected as a Mall

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I was a lame teenager. I didn't go to clubs or do drugs or even drink much. I spent most of my free time hanging out and wandering the city. But I certainly heard stories about Limelight, then a notorious nightclub housed in a former Episcopal church. I wasn't religious back then either, but it always struck me as pretty ballsy.

This spring the space was reopened as a mall, much to the dismay of many a former club kid. It is a bit of a shock, but to hear some people describe it, you'd think it was a desecration of holy ground... Oh wait.

So, with no real ties to its previous incarnation, I stopped in the other day to take a look at the space. See a couple shots of the space after the jump.

Continue reading "The Limelight Resurrected as a Mall" »

July 19, 2010

Quick Bite: Mile End's Smoked Meat

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I finally made it to Mile End in Boerum Hill the other day. I've been enamored with Montreal-style Smoked Meat since my first trip to the Great Up North in 2002.

Viande fumee as they call it in the French part of town, is easily as tender as the best pastrami in New York, but has a stronger smokiness to it and lacks the pepper crusting of a traditional pastrami.

Check out the sandwich after the jump...

Continue reading "Quick Bite: Mile End's Smoked Meat" »

July 16, 2010

Malcolm X Blvd Farmers Market Open for the Season

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Last weekend, the Malcolm X Blvd Farmers Market reopened in our corner of Bed-Stuy. I only had a moment to pass through, but I was pleased to see that it's gotten bigger than last year.

The market will be on the corner of Marion and Malcolm X Blvd from 8am to 2pm every Saturday through October. It's awesome to have fresh, local fruits and veggies in the neighborhood, so please come out and show some support.

July 15, 2010

Food Finds: Soothing Teas

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Chinatown, NYC. 2010.

July 14, 2010

Self-Promotion: Edible Manhattan, The Beer Issue

Tastemaker: Garrett Oliver, Brewmaster for Brooklyn Brewery

It's been a little while since I've tooted my own horn, so here's a new bit of Self-Promotion:

The July/August issue of Edible Manhattan (on stands now!) includes this fine photo of mine in their story on Garrett Oliver and the Brooklyn Brewery. It's actually the lead photo on the web edition of the story.

In case you missed it when I used this photo for POTD some time ago, the subject is Sheila Griffin, a friend who is also a photographer and who I have gone to more than a couple times for advice on the field.

The Edible magazine are always a good for news and insight in the local food world, when I'm out of town, in particular, I've got local Edible pubs to be a good resource. I'm not just saying that because they bought one of my images, but it certainly helps. I hope to work with them again in the future.

Onward and upward!

Boerum Hill's da vine provisions Opens Today

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Today, Boerum Hill wine shop, donna da vine expands into the beer and cheese market with a new shop called da vine provisions right next door. Tammi and I have been friends with Alyssa Becker, the owner, from back when she owned donna da vine wine bar across the street.

At the wine shop, Alyssa's focus has always been obscure wines from the pacific northwest that don't often make it to the New York market, so, I'm sure she's already on the case to get us beer from some of the small breweries in the west. Similarly, she's sourcing breads, cheeses and other items from small batch producers all over the place.

The shop did a soft opening over the weekend, but I wasn't able to stop in to check it out. I did get a chance to take a few photos of the space while they were still setting up. Check them out after the jump.
Expect a big opening party tonight with tastings of many of the beers, breads and cheeses.

da vine provisions, 355 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn - 718.643.2250

Continue reading "Boerum Hill's da vine provisions Opens Today" »

July 13, 2010

Dinner at Fatty Cue

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Fatty Cue in Williamsburg is the long awaited barbecue branch of Zak Pelaccio's Fatty Crab restaurants. It takes Asian flavors, fish sauce, peanuts, and so on and adds a rich, thick smokiness to just about everything.

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Manning the smoker is Robbie Richter, who launched Texas barbecue joint Hill County in the Flatiron District. Eric, Tammi and I had dinner there recently and feasted on duck, ribs, more ribs. It was an amazing meal that I could probably document a bit more extensively given some time.

Lacking that, I think I'll let the pictures speak for me this time. Check out the luscious, meaty wonderfulness after the jump.

Continue reading "Dinner at Fatty Cue" »

July 1, 2010

New Amsterdam Market starts a new season

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Sunday morning the New Amsterdam Market started up for the season. Obviously, I'm behind on some posts, so I'll just post photos from the the market. Over the summer, the market will be going on monthly, come September, it'll be weekly through December.

Photos after the jump:

Continue reading "New Amsterdam Market starts a new season " »

June 30, 2010

Butchery: Japanese Premium Beef

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About a year ago, a new Japanese Butcher shop opened up in NoHo. They specialize in Washugyu, Wagyu-hybrid beef that is raised in the Pacific Northwest to be deeply marbled like the beef from Kobe, Japan.

I stopped in once to get a couple photos, but haven't had a chance to get back to take a better look at their goods either photographically or to take home and cook.

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Most of the write ups about the place point out that it looks more like one of the area boutiques than any butcher shop. It's true and that's at least in part due to the fact that most of the meat is cut at their supplier, not on site.

I suppose that makes this shop more of a reseller than an actual butcher shop, and therefore not the same as my other butchery subjects. But, given how interesting and delicious the marbled beef I had in Japan was, I'll let it slide. Meat like that just needs a quick sear and it's ready to eat. If that. When we were in Tokyo I had some thinly sliced beef at a Yakiniku restaurant in Ginza that was so rich and wonderfully marbled, they encouraged us to eat it raw.

I probably wouldn't go that far if I were cooking it at home, but one of those steaks would be marvelous thrown on the grill for just long enough to get a good char.

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June 7, 2010

Babbo Birthday Dinner

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I took Tammi out to Babbo for her birthday a couple weeks ago. It was
her first time there and my first time in years. It's a pain to get a
reservation and we had dinner at 5:30pm, but the meal was amazing and
the service friendly.

It just happened to be the day I received my Canon 5D Mk II, so of
course I had to see how it did with the food porn.

After the jump, grilled octopus, soft shell crab, grilled beef tongue
and more.

Continue reading "Babbo Birthday Dinner" »

June 6, 2010

Take the Train to the Plane

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Well, I'm taking a cab, but I loved those old commercials when I was a kid.

After this wonderfully full and celebratory week, I didn't think I could top it in New York, so I'm off to San Francisco to celebrate some more.

Actually, I'm going for a conference and will be surrounded by geekdom all day, but a trip to SF is always a good excuse to catch up with friends, photograph, explore and eat great food.

Stay tuned for updates from out west.

June 4, 2010

On Examiner: Summer Concert Season Begins

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With City Seen up, I've finally got some time and attention to get shooting for my nightlife column on Examiner.

And just in time for summer concert season to begun. The same day I put up the show, I headed out to Red Hook Park to catch Jay Electronica open up The Summerstage series.

The summer looks like it will be a good one for shows. Big Daddy Kane is playing at Von King (Marcy) Park in Bed-Stuy, Antibalas, the band behind Fela! is playing as part of the River to River festival and all sorts of acts will be in Williamsburg as part of the Northside Festival.

I'm hoping to get out to as many as I can over the course of the summer to put my new camera through its paces. I also want to take another crack at shooting street musicians in the parks around the city.

June 3, 2010

City Seen: Now on display

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It's been a busy, busy couple of weeks and it's just keeps coming. Last night, several dozen of my friends came out to celebrate the opening of City Seen at Habana Outpost and my impending birthday. With momentum like this, I don't know how 33 couldn't be my best year yet.

Thanks to all the family and friends who came out and special thanks to Jon Oliver, who provided some chill beats for us to enjoy. Most of all, I owe more than I can begin to describe to my wonderful wife, Tammi for helping me through the entire process. There's no way the show could have come off as well as it did without her eye for precision.

The photos will be up through June 14th, if you've enjoyed all the photos on this blog and my other sites through the years, please come out and take a look. If you can't make it out, all the photos in the show are online and available for purchase at Clay Williams Photo, my photo site. All purchases are printed new by Adorama, where I got the prints done for the show.

May 28, 2010

Bed-Stuy: Boardwalk Empire

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Another example of Bed-Stuy 'coming up' in the world is that we're getting things like film production in the neighborhood. Over the last couple months, HBO has been filming an upcoming show called Boardwalk Empire. It's set in Atlantic City in the 20's, I believe, but they took advantage of the gorgeous old houses in this area.

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Mostly they've been filming out of a shuttered old folks home on the corner of Stuyvesant and Decatur. The building is old and beautiful, I've always wondered what it looks like inside. Not, I guess I'll see it on TV one day.


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Walking past the film crews, extras and props has certainly been interesting. Some days there's fake snow piled up, others there's a row of antique cars. It's been fun, to me.

Not so much for the car owners that have had another wrinkle in their alternate side parking dance with dozens of trucks and vans taking up spots up and down the blocks. Being a non-driver, that's no big deal to me.

May 18, 2010

Self Promotion: City Seen at Habana Outpost

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I'm very excited to announce that Habana Outpost has invited me to put up a show of my photography next month. It will run for the first half of June, with photos up on Tuesday, June 1st through Monday, June, 14th.

The show, which I'm calling "City Seen" will center on my street photography, with some photos that should be familiar to those who have followed the blog for a while including a couple of my all-time favorites.

For updates and further details, rsvp to the City Seen event page on Facebook.

May 11, 2010

Bed-Stuy's Blowin' up

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I moved to Bed-Stuy in 1986. Over the nearly 25 years since then, my relationship with the neighborhood has had its ups and downs. As a kid commuting to Brookln Heights every day, It bugged me that we didn't have bookstore and ice cream shops like on Montague Street. When I was a teenager, I was deeply embarrassed when hosting a visiting exchange student to have to walk him through a bloody crime scene on his first morning with us.

After college, my perspective changed, I still wished for amenities found elsewhere in New York, but I certainly appreciated living in Brownstone and paying the same price as friends in Fort Greene for twice the space - with a backyard, no less. Bars, restaurants, ice cream shops were all things I'd have to commute for, but the alternative was gentrification.

That subject, especially in Brooklyn can lead to some heated debates. While I'm certainly enjoying many of the perks gentrification provides in other neighborhoods, i understand that it can also leave an area unrecognizable and worse, unaffordable. That said, everything changes over time and there's no predicting how things will go.

New places are popping up all over the neighborhood and a few concerns aside, I'm very much enjoying it. There are restaurants, a book store, a wine bar and an art gallery. There are places for community to come together besides churches and places to imbibe besides the street corner. I'm pretty excited about it, truth be told.

This is all my wordy way of introducing a series I'll be doing over the next couple weeks highlighting places, new and old around Bed-Stuy that I haven't given a lot of attention to on the blog.

May 9, 2010

Recently on Examiner: Drinking in Brooklyn and the Freedom Party

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If there was much of a theme at all in my last couple weeks of posts it was Brooklyn Bars. Besides the regular Brokelyn 25 series that I've gotten moving again, I've also posted about a few new choice spots to imbibe that have opened up recently. Above is Hot Bird, which I lucked into on its second night open. I basically got the first shots of the space and thus ended up on Brownstoner and Eater. The place looks pretty amazing, so I expect to spend quite a bit of time there this summer.

See what else I've been posting about after the jump...

Continue reading "Recently on Examiner: Drinking in Brooklyn and the Freedom Party" »

May 7, 2010

Recently on Midtown Lunch: Flatiron Excursions

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It's been a while since I've plugged my posts on Midtown Lunch. That's in part because I've been spending a lot of time eating and writing for it instead. There have been plenty of posts, from Taco Trucks to restaurant openings and even some tasty, if overpriced meatballs. But the big news for me is that I've now taken over the weekly Flatiron Lunch column every Friday.

Working on the southern edge of Midtown means that I've got as many options out of bounds as I do within Midtown proper. I've posted before about wanting to go out and explore my food options further afield and this has become a great excuse to do so.

See some of what I've been checking out after the jump.

Continue reading "Recently on Midtown Lunch: Flatiron Excursions" »

May 3, 2010

Peaches Hothouse

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I finally made it back to Peaches Hothouse after my First Look last month. Tammi and I met up there after work the other day and decided to see how the restaurant is coming along and finally find out what this Nashville-style fried chicken is all about.

The dining area is smaller and thus a bit more tight than Peaches or Smoke Joint. In my conversations with owner, Craig Samuels, that seems to be more of the point of Hothouse, a small southern bistro with a varying menu of interesting foods.

The space, a work in progress during the soft opening, seems to have gotten many of the finishing touches taken care of.

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Sadly, one of the touches that hasn't been completed is the liquor license. Despite the tantalizing bar, the SLA still hasn't come through with the goods, so it's byob for the moment.

In our regular visits to Peaches, I've talked to Craig a lot about the business, the industry and the neighborhood. He's told me a bit about what's going on in the kitchen, it all sounds pretty interesting. They've got a smoker in there and are starting to work on their own sausages and doing prep for the other restaurants. I'm hoping to get a chance to go in and photograph them at some point.

In the meantime, he gave us a few samples of the menu while we waited for the chicken to come out. See the food after the jump.

Continue reading "Peaches Hothouse" »

April 21, 2010

Food Finds: Roland Snails

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Chinatown, NYC. 2010.

Recently on Examiner: Snoop Dogg and Brooklyn Bowl Love

Snoop Dogg performing at Brooklyn Bowl

Yes, that is Snoop Dogg. Yes, he's wearing a Yankees jersey. And yes, I I got to shoot him performing at Brooklyn Bowl Monday night.

Yes. Snoop Dogg performed at Brooklyn Bowl. And I was there to shoot it. Crazy.

It was a pretty fantastic show, he performed old and new songs, going through all the classics along with some of his newer hits.

It was surreal standing in Brooklyn and hearing the voice of the west doing Hypnotize in tribute to BIG. More surreal was the fact that he was playing a space like Brooklyn Bowl instead of the Garden. The concert space fits 600 people, which can be huge or intimate depending on the show. The venue has become one of my favorites to cover, not just because of the amazing acts they book, but also the food and a choice beer selection. Without turning into a shill for the place, let me just say that I'd be coming here regularly even if I wasn't shooting for Examiner.

I Love Vinyl Party at Brooklyn Bowl

I've been there a lot lately, covering I Love Vinyl's first Brooklyn party and the night before I shot the Air Guitar Regional Championships, which was a whole lot of ridiculous.

Air Guitar World Championships at Brooklyn Bowl

Like I said, ridiculous.

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I didn't spend all my venue love on Brooklyn Bowl. I did find myself at The Bell House a few times this month. Last week, I went to a blogger meet up hosted by Brooklyn Based, FIPS and Brokelyn. That was a lot of fun just for finally being able to put faces to names.

Good Spirits at The Bell House

A week earlier, I was also at Bell House grazing through the snacks and cocktails on hand at Good Spirits, Edible Brooklyn's tribute to food and booze in the better borough. The spicy red sangritas that this lady was pouring as chasers was probably my favorite drinks of the night, which probably goes to show that liquor is wasted on me.

That's all just a bit of what I've been posting about this month. Habana Outpost reopened for the season and I'm starting up the Brokelyn 25 bar survey again this week after a bit of a hiatus. So, stay tuned.

Quick Bite: Cabrito

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I imagine many people might not have much of an appetite after watching a pair of goats being butchered, but after my Cabrito shoot, I very much craved some of their tacos. Luckily, the shoot didn't end up taking very long, so there was time for me to sit down and have a few.

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I had a chorizo, up top, a lengua, above, and a pork belly, below. Sadly the cabrito is only sold as a larger dish, so not so much a lunch dish. It was all delicious, regardless, but a return visit for some of that goat is definitely in the cards.

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April 20, 2010

Self-Promotion: Honorable Mention in Kodak Ektar Contest

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Back in December, while I was still in full-tilt analog shooting, I submitted the above photo of cranberries at the New Amsterdam Wintermarket to a contest on Flickr for images shot with Kodak's low-grain Ektar film.

Recently, I was notified that I made the honorable mention list! For placing, I get my photo posted on the big Kodak screen in Times Square and 20 more rolls of Ektar film.

The film is wonderfully smooth and I enjoy using it when lighting situations allow. It'll be great to get it for the summer time, when I hope to be spending more time outside shooting.

The official news release hasn't gone out yet, but it was announced to the contest's group on Flickr.

When I started posting all this Self-Promotion jazz a couple weeks ago, I hadn't actually expected it to become a weekly thing. Here's hoping it keeps coming!

April 16, 2010

Gratuitous Bacon Shot

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April 12, 2010

Self-Promotion: Everyman's Joyce

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More belated self-promotion:
About a month ago, I received my copy of Everyman's Joyce in the mail. One of my photos was included in the book. I'm starting to accumulate a nice little library of my published works.

April 8, 2010

Food Finds: Bird's Custard

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Foodtown, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. 2010.

Quick Bite: Baoguette

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The beautiful weather this week has drawn me further afield for lunch than I would usually travel. I suddenly found myself craving some deep sun and delicious ground pork.

That led me on a trip to Baoguette. I've lunched at the Lexington branch before, but this time I made it all the way down to the East Village and sat at the eat-in Baoguette Cafe.

It doesn't get much better than sitting in the sun watching St. Mark's Place go by. It was a hard trip back up to Midtown.

April 7, 2010

Cooking: Easter Bunny

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This weekend, I took my own twisted turn at Easter dinner. Heathen that I am, I wouldn't have known when Easter even was if not for the Lenten lunch I had a couple weeks ago.

A recent article in The Times about rabbit as an upcoming food trend inspired me to finally seek out a rabbit to play with in the kitchen.

I've only cooked rabbit once, years ago, on a trip to Paris with Tammi. I found a whole rabbit shrink-wrapped in a market near our apartment in the Marais. I've wanted to do it again ever since, but prices and availability make rabbit more difficult to cook often.

I'm fond of rabbit, but the price point isn't really a good one for experimentation. This D'artagnan rabbit, purchased at The Meat Hook, cost about $30 at $10 a pound. Not cheap for something about the size of a chicken.

Follow the jump for the before pic and a blow by blow on how I cooked it.

Continue reading "Cooking: Easter Bunny" »

April 6, 2010

Graffiti: Specter's Portraits

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It's been a while since I've been able to go out shooting graffiti, but I was happy to come across this Specter piece off Classon near Lafayette. His work is among the pieces up in Make It Fit at Brooklynite Gallery.

There's a similar mixed media piece up in the gallery that has startled a few passersby late at night in the neighborhood. The show is up through next week.

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April 5, 2010

Bar Sputnik Closed Down

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I was disappointed this weekend to find Sputnik, on the Bed-Stuy/Clinton Hill border shuttered with an 'out of business' sign on the door.

After years of wanting to go, I only ended up there twice. Last fall, I was there two weeks in a row, shooting Pharoahe Monch and Brand Nubian for some of my first Examiner columns. With Evil D on the turntables and legends literally inches away, it was Hip-hop at its finest.

I wasn't anywhere near a regular, but I'm sad to see it go.

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April 1, 2010

Lunch: Single Serve Korean Barbecue at Don's Bogam

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Korean Barbecue is awesome: the big plate piled with meats, the sizzling grill and the smell of all of it cooking in front of you and a group of friends sharing it all. The whole experience is fun and filling and leisurely time-consuming.

The only problem is that it's not so conducive to the lunch schedule and doesn't really scale down for one person so well. Or it didn't, until I found Don's Bogam a couple weeks ago. It sits in relative obscurity a block away from the main Koreatown strip. I happened upon it one day during lunch and decided to give it a try. What drew me in were the lunch specials, which at $12.95 may be outside the Midtown Lunch price range, but still makes for a great bargain for barbecue.

Food and pics after the jump...

Continue reading "Lunch: Single Serve Korean Barbecue at Don's Bogam" »

March 30, 2010

Self-Promotion: NYU SCPS Show

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Last fall, I took at class at NYU on Night Photography. Last week, I was invited by the school to show some of my work as a part of the 75th Anniversary celebration of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS).

This weekend, as part of the Literary and Visual Arts Festival, my photos will be on display along with visual art pieces from many other current and former students at the Silver Center at NYU.

I'm honored to have my work shown here and look forward to seeing it.

Butchery: More Dickson's Farmstand

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I've been showing my butchery work in a class I'm taking at ICP and got a bunch of feedback. Taking the feedback I've gotten from my classmates into account, I went back for another shoot at Dickson's Farmstand.

Mostly, I photographed the inside of the walk-in meat locker, where I could play with the flash without blinding anyone wielding a knife.

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While in there, I got a chance to get a closer look at their new addition, whole, young goats. They hung up in the back, looking a little creepy, but also delicious. Seeing them split up, I'm reminded of the large standing grills we saw in Argentina. Slow grilled like than and served with some chimichurri, I'm sure would be fantastic.

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It wasn't all just meat porn, though. I spent a few minutes taking some photos of Jake Dickson, the shop's owner and Adam, while he worked on a beef forequarter. Gotta love the action shots.

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March 28, 2010

Recently on Examiner: Jam Bands, Food Fests and Hip-Hop

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Woo! It's been a busy week. I've jumped back into the Examiner gig with both feet. Last Sunday night, after Cochon 555, I headed to Brooklyn to shoot The Disco Biscuits play Brooklyn Bowl. The night before, I covered the opening for Make It Fit at Brooklynite Gallery and the next night, I was at Choice Eats for Midtown Lunch. In one of my better attempts at synergy (without recycling, thank you), I managed to squeeze a Food Fest post together about Cochon 555 and Choice Eats, as well.

K-OS at Le Poisson Rouge

Besides all that, my Examiner column over the last couple weeks had recaps of a K-OS show in The Village, the third anniversary Mixer at Cakeshop and recommended Mé Bar for outdoor drinks on a Friday night when the weather was nice.

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This weekend, I've taken some much needed downtime at home with Tammi, but as the weather warms up, the activities in the city tend to multiply, so I expect to stay busy.

Recently on Midtown Lunch: Lines and Lent

Village Voice Choice Eats 2010

This week, I covered Monday's Village Voice Choice Eats, a food festival featuring over 60 restaurants. The good news is that there was plenty of good food and even though I had to stand in a line for an hour, which is totally something I don't do, I managed to stuff myself quite well before the crowd became so ridiculous that I had to bail.

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The Friday before that, I got a chance to meet up with my ML colleagues for a Lenten Lunch of all the seafood dishes under $10 at the Grand Central Oyster Bar. That was pretty fantastic, even for a heathen like me who has no idea when Easter is and tends not to eat a lot of fish. Brownie, of Blondie and Brownie posted a recap of the meal the other day.

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I'm so going back up to GCT for one of those Po Boys. Like, this week. The Rock Shrimp sandwich, above, was pretty fantastic too. I'd love to get a cup of the shrimp and eat them like popcorn. It was great to meet and trade notes with B&B, Jason of Me So Hungry, Amy of Amy Blogs Chow and Jenn.

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Most of my Midtown Lunch coverage this month has been stalking Kyochon, the new Korean Fried Chicken joint that opened, closed briefly to bad reviews and opened up again. That's all still in progress, so I'll have to get back to you on that in a week or so.

March 25, 2010

Food Finds: Pork & Ham Loaf

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Chinatown, NYC. 2010.

March 23, 2010

Butchery: Ryan Farr at Cochon 555

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Friday night I got an email from FoodBuzz telling me that I'd won a pair of tickets to Cochon 555, two days away. I was elated. At the event, chefs from some of the best restaurants in town had their way with five 125 pound pigs and handed out the results to attendees.

Yet, I only ate a couple small plates. Why? Because I'm a meat nerd and butchery awaited. Instead of grazing all evening, I spent a couple hours in the corner watching Ryan Farr, San Francisco's butcher king take apart a whole pig of his own.

Farr went muscle by muscle to show us cuts and techniques that I can't wait to try at home.

Ryan Farr at Cochon 555 NYC

He frenched a loin rack like one would a lamb roast. I think I'd have to see that several more times to even contemplate doing something like that.

Ryan Farr at Cochon 555 NYC

Really though, the coolest part was what Farr did with the head. He deboned it, removing the skull, then he stuffed the face with shoulder meat. After that, he sewed it all up with butchers' twine and a needle. See the slideshow after the jump for a blow by blow.

Ryan Farr at Cochon 555 NYC

I think I've found my next butchering challenge. Seriously, I've been all about cheeks and such for ages, it's time to graduate up to a whole head.

Talking to Farr about the classes he teaches back in San Francisco, I found out that unlike the classes here in New York, his classes are completely hands-on.

Before the session, I introduced myself and told him about my Butchery project. He was into the idea and told me I'd be welcome to come in to photograph a class the next time I'm in San Francisco. I'm hoping to be there over the summer at some point, so keep your fingers crossed.

Ryan Farr at Cochon 555 NYC

Continue reading "Butchery: Ryan Farr at Cochon 555" »

March 22, 2010

Food and Fashion meet for a laugh at The Astor Center (NSFW)

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I'm still catching up on the various shoots and events I've been juggling over the last month, so apologies for the delay. Just before our delay-laden trip last month, I shot a Gastronomica-sponsored Food and Fashion event at The Astor Center. The event began the Umami Art Festival and included a performance art piece called Robert Kushner and Friends Eat their Clothes. The distinctly odd show was brief and featured a fashion show made up of men and women (barely) dressed in foodstuff. Think an eggplant codpiece, a nori skirt and asparagus headwear.

I didn't end up posting it on my Nightlife column as I didn't want to test the posting guidelines, but if you'd like to see half naked artists dressed in vegetables and such, follow the jump and check out the extended Food Fashion set on Flickr.

Continue reading "Food and Fashion meet for a laugh at The Astor Center (NSFW)" »

The Spoils of Gentrification: Beer!

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The upside to demographic change in Brooklyn? Better beer.

March 15, 2010

First Look: Peaches Hothouse open tonight

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This evening, the folks from Peaches and Smoke Joint opened up a new branch of their burgeoning Brooklyn empire. On the corner of Hancock and Tompkins, Peaches Hothouse expands on the southern offerings that Peaches specializes in.

I stopped in to get a sneak peek.

Tonight, and for the next two weeks, they will be serving a limited menu as a part of Brooklyn Dine-In, but co-owner Craig Samuel stresses that everything is a work in progress.

The menu, described as 'new southern,' goes a bit more adventurous than the relatively staid menu found at Peaches. Think beef cheeks braised for six hours and fried green tomatoes with bacon aioli.

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The star of the menu is going to be Nashville-style spicy fried chicken, which will make it's first appearance in a couple weeks. In the meantime, Laura's Fried Chicken, above, looks like an amazing substitute. I didn't get to eat anything when I stopped in tonight, but I was certainly tempted to stick around for a few courses.

There were plenty of familiar faces tonight, including a pair of regulars I see at the bar at Peaches nearly every day and Lloyd, the owner of Bread-Stuy, who had the distinction of getting the first serving of food out the kitchen. I was glad to see the neighborhood support, I know I'll be back soon.

Follow the jump for the current offerings and more photos of the space.

Peaches Hothouse, 415 Tompkins Ave. Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, NY 11216

Continue reading "First Look: Peaches Hothouse open tonight" »

March 10, 2010

Recently on Midtown Lunch: Pizzacones

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This is a pizzacone. It's an odd little invention that captured the fascination (and for some, disgust) of the blogosphere last week.

This pizza in a cone concept was introduced to the Manhattan eating audience for the first time when K! Pizzacone opened up to much attention last Monday. I had a front row seat covering it for Midtown Lunch.

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I'm not a stodgy traditionalist in pizza or much else, but giving a balanced report on something so weird was a struggle. While I did appreciate the opportunity to eat a wad of melted cheese, I think I'll stick with those boring flat pizzas I've known so well over the years.

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My report last week on Izakaya Moku, on the other hand, was no trouble at all. The latest in a trend of Korean-run Japanese restaurants offers a pretty good lunch deal and I made a point of doing as much -ahem- research as I could. Strictly for research purposes, I assure you.

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It may not be the best Japanese food in the city, but Moku and the other new places in Koreatown offer some very good options within walking distance of my office. If nothing else, I'm psyched to finally have a nice bowl of pork ramen available nearby.

What I'm really interested in is checking out the after work menu, which is far expanded and includes yakitori and various other izakaya fare. I think an Examiner post is in order.

Stay tuned.

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March 9, 2010

Recently on Examiner: Bowlive!

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Apologies for the hiatus, some things have been going on in the real world that have taken me away from electronic life. I'll be back up by the end of the week with posts and photos and all that good stuff.

In the meantime, here's what was going on last week on Examiner. Brooklyn Bowl, which has become one of my favorite venues in town is in the middle of hosting a two week residency with Soulive. It's called, cleverly, Bowlive.

I'd heard of the group before, but never really knew their music. They are an instrumental band that blurs the boundaries between funk, soul, rock and jazz and they throw a great party.

For five nights last week and another five nights this week, they are performing with some great guest acts, starting last week with Vernon Reid and continuing this week with guests including Questlove and Rahzel on Thursday and Charlie Hunter tonight.

It was a hugely fun show and I wish I could stop in again before it's all done to see them perform again.

When things settle down a bit, I plan to get back to some of the regular posting I had been doing for my column. Expect a return to the Brokelyn 25 and maybe even an attempt to start up my Late Night Snacks feature again.

March 1, 2010

Analog: Appreciating Digital

You'll notice that there's no photo here. That's because I've been all analog for the last week and a half.

In all my recent experimentation over the last couple months, I've enjoyed the process of shooting film and the excitement of seeing the results. I did my best not to overly glorify film, but I certainly have been finding film more interesting. Not enough to replace digital, but I've definitely been talking up film a lot more.

I'll take it as a rebuke from fate or the photography gods that my digital camera crapped out on me a week ago exactly when I needed it for quite a few things including a photography class, a couple events I was covering for Examiner and of course the wedding and cruise this past weekend.

So, yes, I miss digital. Let me count the ways:

• Changing rolls of film in the middle of shooting an event sucks. No ones going to stop walking down the aisle or hold that pose long enough for you to swap rolls.

• Along the same lines, being able to take 1,000+ exposures on a chip allows you to catch more moments just through sheer volume. Everyone wants to think they're going to catch the Decisive Moment through skill, but sometimes skill still needs 30 attempts to get it right.

• Trial and Error. Seriously. You have no idea how scared I am that some setting was off and half the photos I took are screwy because I couldn't glance at the LCD to see that I shouldn't have used that aperture or didn't see that someone was totally backlit.

Finally, there's developing cost in both time and money. Between the snowstorm and the travel, I now have nearly two dozen rolls of film to develop. That's going to cost a lot and I won't get them for a couple days.

February 25, 2010

Adventures in Travel, Snowstorm Edition

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Tammi and I are supposed to be going to a wedding this weekend. This involves us being in Miami tomorrow to catch a ship to take us to Nassau.

Besides my friends wedding, I'm also curious about this whole cruise thing. I've never thought highly of them, but from what I hear it might be a good time.

Of course, this all assuming that we can get through yet another snowstorm to hit the Northeast.

So far, we've got canceled flights, downed check-in servers and scrambling to pack for a flight a day earlier than planned. Not to mention skipping out on a photo shoot and a class I was supposed to do tonight.

So, yeah. I'm bitching. But if I make it to Miami before the night's over, I'll be fine. If not, I'll have dumped quite a bit of money into the travel industry for absolutely nothing in return.

Wish me luck!

February 24, 2010

It's A Family Affair

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So, you thought your parents were embarrassing when you were a kid? How many times did they drag you out to sit on a bucket while they played drums and sang on the subway platform?

February 20, 2010

This Week in Examiner: Beer and Bands in Brooklyn

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I know, the alliteration is awesome, right? Wait, it's not? Oh well. There's more coming. I've launched a series on Examiner based on Brokelyn's Beer Book that I mentioned in last week's Examiner round up. I'm calling it The Brokelyn 25 and the plan is to go through all 25 of the bars included in the Beer Book and post about them.

It's a pretty great excuse to explore some of the cool bars that I've always meant to check out and more than a few that I'd never heard of before. So far, I've posted about my Williamsburg crawl.

I've mixed the new with the old favorites and enjoyed some time at each place taking in the atmosphere and color of each place. There was Thrash Metal, pizza and a shot of Jim Beam at The Charleston. That place completely took me back to my days hanging out at dives in the East Village ten years ago.

The Brooklyn Brewery is still the same as ever, picnic tables, beer tokens and folks hanging out with friends. It was my first destination in Williamsburg and is still a good time.

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I finished up with Brooklyn Bowl, which I get out to often for shows, but rarely get to just sit at the bar. While there I had my most entertaining moment thus far, when this guy decided to take his share of a pitcher with a straw. Who needs a glass?

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The only music photography I've done recently has been last week when I covered the Brooklyn Tea Party. No, it's not a political group. It's a lot more interesting than that. BTP is a loft apartment that has been transformed into a music studio and performance space by the guys who live there. All three are in music in some way or another and they use their expertise and network of friends to put together a regular party where friends and fans come together and share music with one another.

When I first heard about it through a friend who was performing, I rolled my eyes and thought it was elitist hipster bullshit. But after experiencing it, I'm really impressed by the love and effort that goes into it. The music was interesting and eclectic and the performances all balanced one another very well.

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Continue reading "This Week in Examiner: Beer and Bands in Brooklyn" »

February 11, 2010

This Week on Examiner: Beats, Books and Beer in Brooklyn

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It's been a busy Brooklyn week on my Examiner column. Monday started out with a recap of the weekend's Donuts are Forever, hosted at the Bell House by RareForm and the J Dilla Foundation. The event was a celebration of the life and music of the man many consider to have been the best producer in hip-hop. Aficionados jammed into the space to hear a slew of DJs, headlined by Questlove of The Roots take on Dilla's body of work.

I was pretty excited to have the extended access that I did, allowing me to be on stage and behind the scenes. I'm also pretty proud of myself for not swooning about being right up next to Questlove and instead getting what I think are some pretty good shots of him on stage.

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Monday night, I went in an entirely different direction and covered the Franklin Park Reading Series in Crown Heights. I really enjoyed the Mixer Series reading I went to last month and was glad to go to another similar event. I never seem to have time to read books and I really regret that. Hopefully, going to more of these readings will motivate me to focus on something longer than a blog post or a recipe.

The readers included a familiar face, Melissa Febos, who I met last month hosting the Mixer, was reading from her own new book, Whip Smart, to be released next month. Masha Hamilton, above, split her time between reading from her book 31 Hours and stories written by her students at the Afghan Women's Writing Project. John Wray rounded out the evening with an except from Low Boy, which took me back to my days as a teenager wandering the streets of New York.

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This week, I also posted about the Brokelyn Beer Book, a collection of drink tickets for one beer each at 25 of the better beer establishments around the better borough. I ordered mine right away and plan to make a regular feature of reporting from each of them as I go from place to place.

Check out more photos from the reading and the Donuts are Forever 4 after the jump:

Continue reading "This Week on Examiner: Beats, Books and Beer in Brooklyn" »

Food Finds: Oriental Lychees

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Foodtown, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. 2010.

February 10, 2010

Midtown Lunching

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So, I wasn't particularly subtle in my recent post about new things afoot, but I wanted to make a point of not mentioning that I'm a part of the new editorial team on Midtown Lunch until something I wrote was actually posted.

So, here's the rundown for those who don't slavishly follow the food blog world: Zach Brooks of the blog Midtown Lunch has moved on to warmer pastures to Los Angeles. We'll forget all the terrible things we feel for LA and instead just be jealous for the warmer weather. I'll be posting, among a handful of other talented contributors in his stead.

I started with a post about the expansion of Little Italy Pizza, the place I posted about last year that's been my go-to slice spot that's been a favorite of mine for some time. They opened up a place a couple blocks away that I checked out last week.

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The short version is that I'll be plugging another site, but if you are a midtown wage slave, I'd also love to hear about what your favorite (non-chain) food options are. And I'm always looking for news. Checking early and often.

More to come. . . .

February 8, 2010

Butchery: Dickson's Farmstand

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Friday morning, I spent a couple hours at Dickson's Farmstand, the newish butcher shop at Chelsea Market. Jake Dickson graciously allowed me to come in to look around and photograph his place as a part of my Butchery project.

This session was the first step in expanding the scope of the project beyond the same guys I've been shooting. As I'm developing the idea behind the project and what I want to do with it, I need a larger representative group to hold up the ideas behind it. I hope to do more shoots over the next month or two, introducing more faces, hands, spaces and animals to the collection of images.

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At Dickson's, I spent most of the time documenting Adam, below, while he took apart three beef quarters. Adam eschews the term butcher in favor of the more descriptive 'meat cutter' and tries to keep closer to the traditional concepts of butchery that he learned when apprenticing under an old school butcher in Boston.

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One big difference in his methods I noticed is that Dickson's is equipped with hooks hanging from the ceiling that allow for easier cutting. I'd heard about this but hadn't seen it before. With the meat hanging down, pulling cuts off is significantly easier because gravity is on your side.

Adam used the same technique with hooks attached to his cutting table as well. It was interesting to watch.

Check after the jump for a few more photos. The rest are posted on Flickr in Digital and Analog sets.

Continue reading "Butchery: Dickson's Farmstand" »

February 2, 2010

Travel Day: NY Bound

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I'll be in the air most of the day today, finally heading home after a week and a half in the mountains. I've got plenty of posts to catch up on and a little bit of news coming, too.

Stay tuned.

February 1, 2010

This Week on Examiner: Bar Guides!

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Being in Aspen, I haven't had the opportunity to cover all the cool events going on this week. It's been killing me to read about everything going on on Gothamist and Brooklyn Based and the food sites, but alas.

Instead, I went with slightly less timely reports, posting about particular bars around New York that I'm pretty fond of. Head to Examiner to find descriptions and slideshows of Another Room in Tribeca, Bar Henry on Houston and an old favorite of mine, Deity.

I hope to get a couple more out there before I head back home. Then I'll have some reports coming in of all the stuff going on back in the Bright Center of the Universe.

On Saturday, I'll be covering Donuts are Forever 4 at The Bell House, hosted by Rare Form in annual tribute to the late, legendary producer J Dilla. The show will be featuring a number of great DJs including my friend DJ Tara and ?uestlove of the Roots.

So, check back on Examiner often to see what's up and where to go back in the Big City.

January 27, 2010

Analog: Diana Mini's half frames

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An interesting feature of the Diana Mini is the ability to shoot half frames. In addition to the square frames, which match the number of exposures typically on a roll, it can be adjusted with the flick of a switch to shoot twice as many rectangular exposures. All of these are from the same roll. I was surprised at how long it took to take 72 shots.


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My biggest issue with the Diana is what I've had with the Holga, which is figuring out exposure. I seem to only have luck shooting in daylight, regardless of the speed of the film. If I try to adjust the exposure time by using the bulb feature, it ends up being overwhelmed by camera shake. I'll keep at it at see what I manage to get up here in the mountains.

Check out more shots after the jump. More to come.

Continue reading "Analog: Diana Mini's half frames" »

January 26, 2010

JFK: Bonfire

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I've never enjoyed airport food. It's invariably overpriced and underwhelming. But it is a place to pass the time. On my way to Aspen, I snacked at Bonfire, another in a long line of mass-marketed celebrity chef driven casual dining spots, this one led by Todd English.

Last year, Tammi and I ate there while waiting for a Friday night flight to DC. It was a month after the shitshow flying to North Carolina at around the same time and out of the same gate, with a dozen other flights all departing from the same place. We figured we might as well find a decent place to relax, get a snack and have a drink.

The menu has an odd collection of offerings, Mexican fare is mixed with pizzas and seemingly random other snack foods.On my first visit, we went with the Latin side of things.

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The chicharrones were unlike any I've ever had, this dish was made up of soft roasted bits of pork topped with a bit too much goopy aioli on top. It may not have been the crispy chunks of unctuous pork bordered with skin crisped to the point of shattering I had hoped for, but it's hard to mess up roasted pork bits, so it was still pretty good.

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We also had an order of Pigs in a Blanket with chorizo, which also had the benefit of being nearly impossible to do wrong.

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This visit, I choose poorly. I skipped the Mexican and Pizza options and instead had a hot dog. At $16, I presumed there must be something interesting to it. Unfortunately, there really wasn't.

The Giant Hot Dog was indeed rather large, but ultimately not nearly worth the hyper-inflated price tag. The rosemary fries that came with them were interesting in concept, particularly with the flaky deep fried rosemary leaves and sprigs as an accompaniment. But, there wasn't really any flavor there.

I've never been to an airport restaurant that I would ever consider patronizing 'on the outside.' I don't know if I would run out to 'Bonfire Downtown,' but it's definitely a good place to know about for the next time I'm in Terminal 2 with time to kill.

January 23, 2010

This Week on Examiner: Adding some culture

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This week I went a little outside my usual area of coverage on Examiner. Jazz and Poetry are both art forms that I respect, yet know little about. So, I jumped in and covered a bit of both.

Nearly every venue in town this week has been hosting benefits for charities providing aid and service to Haiti's Earthquake victims. With so much else going on this week, I only got to cover one of them, L'Union Fait Force at Le Poisson Rouge.

The coolest part of the show was watching the Doctor Lonnie Smith Trio perform with Trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Smith (top) is a great showman whose flair added excitement to the show. Hargrove on the horn was wonderful.

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There was plenty more going on: Dance, Haitian drums, a pair of guitarists and the Vijay Iyer Trio, which is actually what drew me to the event. That morning, WNYC announced the event and played some of the Trio's take on Mystic Brew - better known to those of a 'certain age' as the basis of the classic "Electric Relaxation" by A Tribe Called Quest.

The show was fun and eclectic and went late into the night. I was so wiped out, I had to take off before the last set even started, missing hosts Groove Collective perform with Bernie Worrell of Funkadelic.

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On Wednesday, I changed things up a bit with by covering the Mixer Series at Cake Shop in the Lower East Side. It's a monthly series that hosts poets and authors reading their recent work. And first up was Tess Taylor, above, a classmate in college. We hadn't seen each other in at least the 10 years since graduation, but it was good to catch up, however briefly.

I don't know the first thing about poetry and I don't read books nearly as much as I should, but it was a great experience being surrounded by smart people enjoying intelligent things. I really hope to keep going to future Mixers.

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Among the other readers was Steve Geng, who read scenes from his new book, Bop City about Paris during the Algerian war. Just in the 15 minutes he was up there, he touched on themes of terrorism, sex, race, and French culture that fascinated me.

After the jump, more photos from both events...

Continue reading "This Week on Examiner: Adding some culture" »

January 21, 2010

Food Finds: Twin Elephants

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Foodtown, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. 2010.

January 12, 2010

Lunch: The Breslin

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Today, Sam Sifton of the New York Times will be reviewing The Breslin, the new restaurant in the Ace Hotel. Mere blocks from my office, I've had my own opportunity to check out the place and I'm not sure there's a lot that Sifton might say that would make me want to check it out again.

It's a sad thing, because everything I've had and heard tells me that the food is pretty amazing, but the culture of the place puts the scene first and customers second.

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The lamb burger, the only thing Ive had there is wonderful. The rest of the menu seems ridiculously magnificent. But much like The Spotted Pig, by the same folks, the crowd of 'see and be seen' types takes all the fun out of it and the staff seems to buy into that culture deeply.

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In a perfect world the entire clientele of the place would change. The people who show up to places because it's popular would forget it ever existed and the wonderful meat dishes would be available throughout the day for the rest of us to peruse at will.

Instead, there's a crowd of loud, unpleasant people talking about their polo weekends in Florida and Argentina and the staff spends more time ignoring you than finding out if you need anything. Apologies for being crotchety, but this is exactly the sort of thing that upsets me the most. Not sceney places that I'm not remotely interested in, but places that I would love to go to were it not for the nonsense.

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January 11, 2010

Cooking: Hearts Afire

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We got one last beautiful day for the year the Sunday after Christmas. Just before the current deep freeze, the temperature reach up into the 50s and I took the opportunity to fire up the grill.

Eric came over and we grilled the lamb and beef hearts that I got from Fleisher's at the WinterMarket.

I was attracted to heart initially for the spectacle of the thing. It just seems to odd and primal, how could I not try it after all my 'whole beast' talk? But after trying it, it's the flavor an texture that will have me going back for more.

The preparation was limited to cutting off the fatty and tough bits and seasoning it with salt and pepper.

We grilled them to about medium rare and cut them into strips with kitchen shears.

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The meat was dense and a bit chewy without being tough. The flavors were intense. They tasted like beef and lamb, just more so. The beef did have a slightly 'liver-y' flavor, but not overpoweringly so.

At this point it is far too cold for going back out to grill again, but expect hearts to be a staple come grilling season.

January 10, 2010

Lunch: Rye House

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Ever since getting into the analog world, I've found myself spending a lot more time in the FlatIron District. Whether stopping at a Color Lab to drop off or pick up film or going to Adorama or Calumet to pick up new rolls, I'm in the area between 17th Street to 23rd Street from 5th to 6th Avenues a couple times a week.

Changes in movement patterns around New York always inevitably leads to some interesting discoveries and Rye House is one of the best kind. After discovering it and stopping in for a drink after work, I made a point of returning for lunch a week or so ago.

Up top are a pair of sloppy joe sliders, which had the perfect balance of meat to bun to avoid a ridiculous mess. Topped with a couple rings of jalapeño peppers, it had just the right kick to it.

Below is a cross section of deep fried Mac n Cheese. It's an intriguing sounding snack. Clearly it piqued my interest. Sadly, it just shows that not everything ought to be fried. The outer crust just didn't add anything to the experience and in the end, I probably would have enjoyed it more in a bowl.

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A couple days ago, I stopped in again and tried one of the sandwiches, the Cuban. It was pretty perfect, Berkshire ham, roast pork, gooey cheese and tart and tangy pickles. Yeh.

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There are a few of other sandwiches on the menu I'd like to including the Beef Wellington with Filet Mignon and Foie Gras and the Pittsburgh with Andouille Sausage and a house slaw. I have got to try both of those.

What really fascinates me is an item from the dinner menu that I've got to have: Buffalo Sweetbreads.

Rye House, 11 West 17th Street, NYC. 212.255.7260

January 8, 2010

Beaten by the hordes

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This was the scene at The Metropolitan Museum last weekend when I attempted to go catch the Robert Frank exhibit. With New York seemingly empty of locals, I didn't expect to see the tourists numbered quite so highly here. It was very disappointing since I had really wanted to make it to that show, but there was just no way I was going to make it through this mob.

January 7, 2010

Lunch: Salt and Pepper

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I've been passing Salt & Pepper by for the last five years. Besides being the type of hole in the wall that is entirely missable, it's also wildly varied in a way I haven't really seen anywhere else.

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The front counter offers Latin and American food, serving everything from cheesesteaks and fried chicken to oxtails and pepper steak. There's also a strong Italian contingent with chicken parm, lasagna and meatballs.

That selection alone is vaguely unusual, but if you can squeeze through the narrow space up front and the tight seating area, you'll find another counter in the back.

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There you'll find an Indian and Pakistani spread with all sorts of options including vegetarian dishes, Naan and various curries like the Goat Curry I tried out. You don't see goat offered in many places, so I had to give it a go.

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I grew up with goat as a regular dish at home, so I don't think of it as very unusual, but I guess it's not so common. You'll almost always find it braised in a strongly flavored sauce, like curry, which makes the expected gaminess unnoticeable.

If you can't get past the whole goat thing, there's chicken and fish and lamb along with a number of vegetarian options if that's your thing.

See more photos of the space after the jump.

Salt & Pepper, 139 West 33rd Street, between 6th and 7th. 212.268.1919

Continue reading "Lunch: Salt and Pepper" »

On Examiner: Korean Barbecue

Kunjip Slideshow, by clay williams

After a lull in coverage, I'm back on Examiner posting about late night foods. This week's focus was on 24 hour Korean Barbecue in Koreatown. It's a wonderful thing.

Look at those ribbons of meat, ready for a ser on the grill. It's even better with a charcoal fire, but there aren't so many of those any more -- probably for the best at the places that cater to the post-karaoke crowd at 4am...

I'm also trying to find more events, parties and shows in the next couple weeks to cover for Examiner. If you know of any, let me know in the comments.

January 6, 2010

MTA Unlocked

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You've got to love the MTA. For all the fare hikes, service cuts and security rules they keep pushing, they still can't manage to keep their staff from leaving turnstiles unlocked, open and with the keys still in them.

Brilliant.

Lunch: Wolfgang's Bar Menu

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Last week was that languid period between Christmas and New Year's Day is a little surreal in New York. Those of us who actually show up to work, the office is a ghost town. Midtown is more crowded than ever, but it's made up almost entirely of tourists. Even the commute is more relaxed and roomy.

Keeping with the indulgent mood of the week, I met up with Eric one day for lunch at Wolfgang. Now, luxury week or not, we weren't getting Ribeyes or Porterhouses in the middle of the day. Instead, we go every once in a while to snack on their excellent bar menu.

I had the Cheeseburger topped with a thick slab of rich unsmoked bacon above. Getting a burger from a steakhouse is a habit I picked up years ago upon learning of Peter Luger's burger. That is a magnificent thing. Sadly, it's not nearly close enough to go to for lunch, so Wolfgang is my next best thing. They don't have the thick slice of muenster cheese or the buns made from their Luger's great dinner rolls, but they do have one thing that is centrally important: great meat. Both the beef and the bacon are juicy and tender and done just right.

Eric went with something you can't get at Luger's: the most literal take on a steak sandwich I've ever seen. It's actually a steak, grilled and chopped up to fit on a bun. Dab a little sweet and tangy house steak sauce on top and you've got one of the best sandwiches you're going to find around.

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At around $20 each, it's a splurge that only fits in the budget every now and again, but it's definitely worth it.

Wolfgang's Steakhouse
4 Park Avenue, New York, NY.
212.889.3369

January 5, 2010

Quick Bite: Dumont

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This sexy beast is the legendary Dumont Mac n Cheese. I stopped in last week after stopping in at The Meat Hook for some holiday weekend goodies. It's been ages since I've made it to Dumont, I'd in fact almost forgotten that I blogged about it a couple years ago. My infrequent visits mean that I invariably go for one of their classics when I'm there, the burger or the mac n cheese.

The MTA has seen fit to mangle my weekend transit again, so I plan to reinstate Williamsburg Weekends this month so as to avoid the shuttle service. Maybe I'll get a chance to stop in again and see what else they've got.

For now, enjoy the gooey goodness.

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January 4, 2010

Lunch: Haru Hana adds a new Japanese option in Koreatown

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This afternoon I had lunch at the new Japanese restaurant in KoreaTown, Haru Hana. It calls itself a Japanese Pub and stocks many of the izakaya favorites I know and love, but the decor and crowd, particularly on a Monday afternoon was much more subdued than all that.

Signs prominently advertise that they are open 24 hours a day, so I'll have to report in again after a late night visit. In the meantime, here's what I had for lunch.

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I passed on the katsu and udon, which I've had quite a bit of in the last month or so and chose a broiled eel rice bowl. I love Unagi. The sweet syrup that coats the top of the eelskin and gets soaked up by the rice is a thing of beauty.

I also tried a couple of the skewers to see what that was all about. Here I had one with bacon-wrapped sausages and the other with chicken and garlic. The sausages were sweetly tangy , like those I had the last time I visited Go Go Curry. Being wrapped in bacon, it's an automatic win. The chicken skewers sported leg meat and garlic cloves toasted until the two were visually indistinguishable. Thankfully, I noticed the different in texture before biting into the garlic by mistake. The flavors may have mellowed out as it grilled, but I don't think my co-workers would really appreciate the difference

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I do have to say one thing about the yakitori. They were wonderful, but after years of eating Japanese skewers at izakaya after izakaya, I have come to expect an open kitchen where I can watch the flames lap at the meat leaving bits of char and juices dripping. When I don't see them, it doesn't detract from the experience exactly, but I notice that it's not there.

Really though, it's not hard to tell when you look at the space. The restaurant is shotgun-style, like many of the other ground floor spaces on the block. There's precious little space to offer up for the ceremony of open cooking.

The menu is widely varied, with everything from Tonkatsu to Udon to Yakitori to sushi. This could be a good thing or a bad thing. Most Japanese restaurants tend to focus on one cuisine and do it really well, so it's a little unusual. That said, the dishes I had were wonderful and I'll be happy to work my way through the menu to take advantage of the of all that variety.

Haru Hana
28 W 32nd St
Between Fifth Ave and Broadway
KoreaTown
212.736.5393


Analog: Diana Mini

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The holidays brought me more photography gear that I'm looking forward to playing with in this brand new year. I've already mentioned the Lensbaby Composer that Tammi got me, but that's not strictly analog and I haven't really used that on my film Canon yet.

These photos are from the Diana Mini that my aunt gave me. The camera is a miniaturized version of the popular Diana toy camera from Lomography.

Unlike the 'grownup' Diana, the Mini takes 35mm film, which is much more convenient to find and get developed. It also has two frame sizes, square boxes, like you see here or rectangular half frames that effectively double the number of exposures you can make on a roll. I have only just started shooting half-frame, but check back here for an update in the next week.

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I'm still learning how best to use it, but these are some of the test shots I took last week. Lesson number one for me was that it's all but useless inside. I'll have to either only use it outdoors or get really good at timing my shots to the fraction of a second in 'bulb' mode.

This is my second foray into toy cameras, the first being the Holga, the mastery of which continues to elude me. Between being put off by the medium format film, the lack of metering and the larger shape that makes it more difficult to carry around, I've all but given up on learning how to make good photos with it. I'm hoping that the easier to manage Diana Mini can work as 'training wheels' to get the hang of shooting with a toy camera. One day, maybe I'll be ready to graduate to the medium format goodness of the Holga.

January 1, 2010

WinterMarket 09: Heartland's Winter Wassail

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It's easy to hate on Heartland Brewery. I've certainly done it. It's touristy and, Brooklyn-brewed or not, the beer isn't fantastic. But they do put an effort in and I give them credit for that.

They participated in the WinterMarket this year, just a block away from their Seaport location. To help battle the frigid temperatures, the folks here were pouring steaming hot mugs of a concoction blending beer, cider, rum, and a host of mulling spices. After nearly freezing my hand off taking photos and stuffing my face glove-less, this drink may have saved me a couple digits.

The heat, unfortunately, was really all it had going for it. The flavor was bitter, bringing out all the wrong parts of the ingredients. The orange peel and mulling spices and presumably the beer buried the innate sweetness of the cider instead of balancing it out. That said, the cold was hard enough that I kept on drinking it anyway.

A few minutes later, I came across a booth selling hot cider and I regretted not seeing it first.

December 31, 2009

WinterMarket 09: Oysters

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I typically love oysters, whether first thing in the morning or late into the evening. Sadly, the morning of the WinterMarket, I couldn't muster up the will to slurp down any of the ice cold bivalves on display. They do look gorgeous though, don't they?

December 30, 2009

WinterMarket 09: Fleisher's

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This bucket of guts and goodies brought to you by Fleisher's, the upstate butcher shop that has served as the training ground for many of the butchers that have been proselytizing the gospel of butchery in recent years.

Bryan apprenticed there through the fall and has continued to work there over the last several months and was working the booth with them at the WinterMarket. He introduced me to Jessica Applestone, who owns Fleisher's with her husband, Josh, the self-titled "MooRu". I'm hoping that next year some time I'll be able to visit the shop up in Kingston and photograph them and their apprentices in action.

For now though, I took advantage of the wonderfully priced offal and bought a pile of organ meats including a beef tongue, sweetbreads and a mix of beef and lamb hearts. The sweetbreads gave me some difficulty and didn't come out as well as I'd hoped, the hearts were awesome, more on that in a bit. I also bought a small pork roast that I cooked that night using Sara Jenkins' Porchetta salt that I also picked up that day.

December 29, 2009

Train Locator Console

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There are (rightly) many complaints about the MTA these days, particularly with draconian cuts in service looming. My neighborhood in particular is about to be totally screwed by some of the cuts in bus routes.

That said, this is pretty awesome : The Train Locator Console lets you know where all the trains are along the entire line. No more peering into the abyss of train tunnel, squinting for a glimmer of light reflecting off the tracks. Of course, this is just on the L Train and the price its riders paid for these spiffy new features was several years of service interruptions and weekend shuttle buses.

Hopefully one day the MTA will be managed and funded properly enough to have these kinds of features throughout the system. As of right now, that sort of wide-scale infrastructure investment seems unlikely to happen any time soon.

Quick Bite: Irish Bacon Burger at Spike Hill

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Lunch in the deluge Saturday afternoon at Spike Hill. I'd never noticed that Irish Bacon was an option on their burger. I feel like I'm seeing more Irish/English Bacon around on menus these days. That's a good thing.

The funky blur around the edges here is from my spiffy new Lensbaby Composer I got for Christmas from Tammi. I'm hoping not to overuse it, but it's a lot of fun.

WinterMarket 09: Porchetta

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Sara Jenkins' fantastic roast pork is what began my obsession with that rosemary and fennel scented lusciousness that is porchetta last year. So, it was wonderful to run into her booth at the Wintermarket on Sunday.

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My only disappointment was that the little porchetta sandwiches being served were not warm and fresh and custom made with requests for cracklins honored, but pre-made and chilled by the frozen temperatures outside. I guess that just means I'll have to make another pilgrimage down to the East Village one of these days.

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What was very cool was that she's now selling a packaged seasoning with Sicilian sea salt, fennel pollen and other ingredients that construct a semblance of the flavors she uses for her porchetta. I used it that night to season the pork roast I picked up at Fleisher's.

December 28, 2009

WinterMarket 09: Hot Pockets!

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The most amazing thing I ate at the WinterMarket was the "Hot Pockets" being sold by Quality Meats. Discard all thoughts of the vile microwave pastries made infamous by Jim Gaffigan.

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No, these incredible creations are filled with a mix of shredded Duck Confit and cheese and then pressed in a sandwich maker. So. Good.

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So, how was your Christmas?

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December 21, 2009

WinterMarket 2009

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Yesterday morning I braved the piles of snow to go down to the Seaport to attend this year's WinterMarket at the Fulton Fish Market.

I haven't written much about the New Amsterdam Market project recently, but it's been moving on track as far as I can tell. Starting this summer, there have been monthly markets taking place down there, but this was the first I'd manage to make it to since last year.

Despite the snowstorm, my fellow food nerds were out in force. I wasn't nearly the only one with a camera shooting food, servers and displays. It was great. I ran into Dave from Eating In Translation and we compared camera notes and geeked out for a moment.

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I wandered around shooting and eating and chatting with some of the vendors and had a great time trying out some new and interesting foods. Over the next couple days, I'll post some highlights of what I saw and ate.

Snowfall

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So, yeah, there was a snow storm. I guess winter's definitely here. Insert "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" joke here.

December 17, 2009

Lunch: Dogmatic

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I already love hot dogs. Who doesn't? Whatever your preference for toppings or types of dogs or methods of cooking, it's a pretty great food.

Dogmatic didn't really have to do so much work to improve it. I'm really glad they did, though.

This gourmet dog is stuffed into a small hollowed out baguette. But, that's only after it's been slathered in a sauce of your choice including the intensely flavored Truffle Gruyere.

Yeh, really. It's then accompanied by one of a number of sides, in this case a cup of mac n cheese. Because, you know, the more cheese the better.

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New York SantaCon 2009

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I'm sure this weekend's New York's SantaCon was one of the more blogged about events recently, so I'll save you the recap.

I unintentionally came across a horde of drunken Santas in Washington Square Park and kept shooting until I lost my light. Here and after the jump, find some of my photos of Saturday's festivities. For more, see my Examiner slideshow.

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Continue reading "New York SantaCon 2009" »

December 16, 2009

Lunch: Is Go Go Going?

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It's a testament to my priorities in the world that the first reports that Hideki Matsui was leaving the Yankees for Los Angeles, all went something like this: "What about Go Go Curry?"

The hazard of basing your entire business around a single free agent player is pretty clear. But then, we've all enjoyed the quirks that make this place so interesting. According to reports, there is no plan to close up shop, although a Los Angeles branch may be in the works and the owner maintains his allegiance to Matsui.

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Despite the recent abundance of Katsu in my diet, I decided to stop in yesterday to check out the scene on the ground.

There was no sign of a change in color scheme or Angels gear anywhere. The staff still wore Yankee colors and most importantly, they still give out free toppings coupons on 'Go' days, that is any date with a '5' in it.

Best of all, the Katsu is still wonderful, the curry still think and the new-to-me pork sausage makes for a tasty combination with the other elements of the meal.

December 15, 2009

Analog: Back to Butchery

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It's been a little while since I've been able to devote any time to my Butchery project. Over the last couple months I've had to pass up opportunities to see and maybe shoot some interesting butchering demos due to other commitments or sometimes just sheer exhaustion.

This week I broke out of that rut and did two butchering shoots. Both were subjects I've shot before cutting more or less the same meat, but this time I got to shoot with film, which was really pretty exciting.

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First, on Wednesday, I finally got a chance to visit The Meat Hook, the new Butcher shop run by Tom and Brent formerly of Marlowe and Daughters in conjunction with The Brooklyn Kitchen. The space also doubles as a teaching space and I sat in on a Pig butchering session. A year and a half ago, it was one of Tom's classes that got me interested in this whole Butchery thing in the first place. I enjoyed watching it all over again with a stronger knowledge of the subject.

To see more from that shoot, check out the Flickr set Pig Butchery at The Meat Hook.

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Then on Friday, I stopped in at Greene Grape Provisions to shoot Bryan for a while as he took apart half a steer. Beef is a little foreign to me, I don't cook it much, so picking up the anatomy and the scale is really interesting. It's should be obvious, but cows are really, really big and so are their disassembled parts -- the bones, the muscles and the layers upon layers of flesh.

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Those photos are posted on Flickr as well.

It was also particularly interesting to see what the textures and colors of film do to such a visceral subject matter. Without geeking out too much on my analog experiments, these shoots have been an interesting way for me to see how the hues and tones of one roll differs from another. Some bring out the pale greens of the fluorescent lights, others pop with the bloody redness of the meat -- and then there's Black and White. It's fascinating, all of it.

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I'm currently looking at more photography classes at ICP for next year, particularly classes that are about building portfolios and working on long term projects. I hope to use it as an opportunity to pursue this Butchery project more consistently and to have a body of work that I can present for a show or publication.

I hope to spend some time reaching out to other butchers and delving deeper into the subject. The neighborhoods of New York offer all sorts of ethnic markets that prepare meat based on cultural and religious practices. Given the time and initiative, that could be a profoundly interesting path to go down. I'd also like to round out the meats represented by photographing some lamb and maybe game meats.

There are a million ways to go with this project, so stay tuned.

December 14, 2009

Transit Week

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For no particular reason, this week I've decided to post some impressions of the various transit systems I've passed through or otherwise explored this year. Enjoy!

Lunch: Arang -- Japanese Fusion in KoreaTown

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According to Midtown Lunch, Arang in KoreaTown used to be Korean/Sushi Buffet. ML also reported that they had shut down. I discovered it after that, once they had revamped and got rid of the buffet.

They still specialize in the Korean and Japanese, but the buffet has been scuttled. Now, you can order one of a number of bentos, like the one above with kalbi or lunch specials of Tonkatsu.

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I'm on a katsu kick these days, so the last time I was there I tried out the Cheese Donkatsu. I can't name too many Asian foods that work with cheese, so it take a moment to wrap your head around. But then, as I've observed before, katsu is just schnitzel. And fried, breaded things can be quite tasty with cheese.

The crust is crisp, the cheese is gooey and the katsu sauce adds a sweetness to it that can be unsettling at first, but works pretty well.

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On an earlier visit, I tried their Curry Katsu just to see how it stood next to Go Go Curry. The answer is that there's no comparison. It's entirely different. Arang's curry sauce is chock full of potatoes and carrots and chunks of meat. It's thinner in texture than the dense sauce of Go Go, but there's so much stuff in it that it doesn't really make a difference.

The best part of all these lunch specials is that they are reasonably priced for a sit down meal, with most if not all specials under $10. The place is rarely crowded during lunch hours, so it's a good place to go when you need a break from being surrounded by office mates all day.

Arang
9 West 32nd Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10001
(212) 947-3028

December 8, 2009

On the Examiner: Late Night Eats

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Tomorrow, I start up a feature on Examiner all about late night food. I know, where do I come up with these things! Really though, even the least food-savvy people crave _something_ after a night of imbibing. What's yours?

Chime in here or on the Examiner post or with the Midtown Lunchers I polled on this questions last week.

I even fixed up the comment section, which I gave up on some time ago. You can log in and post with many different logins, so give it a go and let me know what I should be checking out.

Finals

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Bobst Library, NYU. Greenwich Village, NYC. 2009.

Ten years out of school, it's easy for me to forget that it's also finals time for students all over the country. Outside of the occasional dream, this is something I happily have forgotten all about. I just had a conversation with my aunt, a college professor and she was telling me about all the reading and grading she's doing.

Periodically, we all have wistful thoughts of school days. I can't say I've ever missed this particular part though...

December 7, 2009

The Tree Starts the Season

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The end of the year is sort of a whirlwind. Starting with the build-up to Thanksgiving, the meme-storm of holidays and music and events is enough to sweep you up or knock you down.

I find it a bit disorienting this year. I love the season, but I haven't -felt- it yet. The weather has certainly cooled down appropriately and the holiday music is being blared in more places than I'd like. But the season doesn't quite feel there yet for me.

I think tomorrow is when it'll happen. Tammi and I are getting our Christmas Tree after work tomorrow night. We'll follow the long time holiday tradition and decorate it while listening to the sounds of Nat, Ella and A Charlie Brown Christmas.

December 3, 2009

Lunch: In the mood for Japanese

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I haven't shaken my craving for Japanese food since getting back from Hawaii. Coincidentally, I ended up having to run lunch errands in Midtown East two days in a row this week. As I've mentioned before the East 40's is basically JapanTown North. So, I took the opportunity to slurp down some more noodles and enjoy the dulcet tones of "Irrashaimase!!" upon entry.

Above is a Tuesday's Kara age Curry Udon, a favorite of mine from Udon West's uptown branch. Without repeating myself too much, I'm a big fan of Udon. It's thick and hearty and perfect eating on a chilly fall day. Combine that with the warming spice of the rich curry broth and the visceral satisfaction of the crunchy on the outside, tender and herby on the inside fried chicken and I could eat this all winter.

Below is a bowl of Pork Belly Ramen from Manchenko Tei on 45th Street that I had on Monday. The two could not have been more different. The noodles were thin, soba, I think and the broth was lighter and silkier. Topped with a hunk of pork belly that was beautifully braised it was easily as satisfying.

There's so much food in New York, I'll probably end up back into my usual patterns of a little of this a little of that soon enough, but I'm really enjoying exploring the many many Japanese options available right now. The weather has had me craving soups, but I definitely want some yakitori sooner rather than later.

More to come.

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(PS: Welcome Midtown Lunch readers! Apologies for the poor navigation, I'm working on it. Please feel free to look around.

November 26, 2009

Homeward Bound

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By the time this goes up, Tammi and I will be in the air again, heading for a quick stopover at O'Hare, then on back to the Better Borough. We're giving ourselves a little more time at home this time around to relax and re-acclimate to being at home, catch up on things and maybe to get some cooking done after a couple of weeks out of the kitchen.

Expect some posts in the next week or so about Hawai'i, followed up by various catch up posts from the last few months.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 15, 2009

Quick Bite: Italian Sausage

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When I was in High School and College, I loved wandering the street fairs every summer. I didn't care that, except The Antic, they were all the same and rarely represented any aspect of the block of the neighborhood they were in. I wasn't particular.

I liked the gathering of people and, of course, I loved the food. The highlight for me was always the Italian Sausage stands. I could have Hot or Sweet, but always covered in a mountain of peppers and onions. For the life of me, I can never find one nearly as good in a store. Most pizza shops that sell sausage heroes, just don't have the flavor or the nice char from the griddle.

Last week, I passed by one of these fairs, probably one of the last of the season, and right on the corner was a sausage stand. I had to have one for old-time sake.

I just have to add a note of photo-geekery here. The pic is one of my analog shots, that I took on a roll of Fuji Velvia slide film. Check out the way the colors just glow out of the shot. I can practically smell the onions just by looking at it.

Recently on the Examiner: Shooting Music

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It's funny how things work out. Months ago, at the beginning of the summer, I hoped to spend the summer taking photos of street musicians around the city. But between all the rain and a hectic schedule, I didn't get much opportunity for all that.

Now, over the last couple months I've found myself in the front row of show after show shooting musical performances for The Examiner. From hip hop acts I've known since I was a kid to indie bands I've never heard of. It's pretty amazing and I'm just getting started.

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It's not so recent anymore, but the week before leaving for Hawaii, I saw the Dirty Dozen Brass Band play Brooklyn Bowl in a fun, festive show opened by the band Turkauz, which I'm going to keep my eye out for in the future.

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Then, that weekend, the Brooklyn Museum celebrated it's new rock photography exhibit with performances by some Indie Bands, which I got to photograph.

The photo show itself is amazing and inspiring. As a developing (heh) photographer, seeing how both the musicians and the photographers started out before creating the iconic works that have shaped our understanding of an intrinsic part of our culture.

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On a technical level, shooting in the dynamic and frenetic environment is educational every time. Different lights, different personalities, different settings add to the challenge of capturing the moment as I want it.

I hope to spend more time shooting concerts and performances going forward.

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November 12, 2009

Chef Michael Psilakis at The Astor Center

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This week for the Examiner, I visited a cooking demo at the Astor Center by Chef Michael Psilakis of Kefi and Anthos. I was just there to shoot and thankfully didn't drool on anything, but the smells and sounds of all the food he prepared were amazing.

My Examiner post went up this morning with a slideshow of images I took that night and a brief write-up.

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In addition to the many digital shots I took while there, I also shot a few rolls of film, which I'm really happy with. This whole 'analog' thing has been fun and I'm falling further down the rabbit hole.

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After my old model broke a little over a week ago, I ran out immediately and bought a used Canon, which uses most of the same lenses that my digital uses. Ever since, I've been shooting even more film and redoubling my experimenting. I've even gone back to playing with Black and White, which I haven't done since I was in High School.

I think the results have been pretty good, what do you think?

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November 10, 2009

Shameless Self-Promotion: The Local

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A moment of self-promotion: A couple of weeks ago, The Local, the Fort Greene/Clinton Hill Blog by The New York Times use one of my photos of Bar Olivino.

Maybe one day I'll get in the print edition.
::c::

November 9, 2009

Lunch: Buffalo Chicken Pizza at Cafe Rustica II

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The idea of spicy chicken and bleu cheese on a pizza may seem wildly unusual to many, but for me it brings back memories of my college days. Back in Amherst, Mass, there is a pizza shop called Antonio's that specializes in odd toppings. There were plenty of others including Potato Bacon, with thin slices of baked potatoes with cheese and crispy bacon bits on top, but 'Spicy Bleu,' was always one of my favorites

So, when I saw this buffalo chicken pie come out of the oven at hole in the wall Cafe Rustica II on 35th Street, I had to have it. Though not nearly as good as my far off memories of Antonio's, it was close enough to take me back for a moment.

A firm layer of mozzarella sets the foundation of the slice. It holds what might otherwise be watery ingredients in place. The bleu cheese is a thinner dressing that I'd like, but is just strong enough to balance out the tang and spice of the buffalo sauce. The chicken chunks are breaded and fried, a departure from the slices I had back in college and maybe an improvement. The crispness of the breading adds another texture to experience and manages to soak up some of the hot sauce, making it a better vehicle for flavor.

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The way I found it was entirely by accident. My usual Herald Square pizza spot, Giuseppe's apparently closed down but I still wanted a slice, so I stopped in here.

In the 5 years I've worked in the area, I had only gone to Cafe Rustica once. Passing by, the signs out front declare it a 'Trattoria Pizza and Pasta House.' This is ridiculous. The closest thing to decor in this dark, cave-like space are the exposed duct work in the ceiling. This is not Trattoria. It's not even a Restaurant. It's a Pizza shop. Make no mistake.

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November 2, 2009

A Busy Weekend of Revelry

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It's a good thing that we had an extra hour thrown in this weekend, because there was so much going on this weekend, we needed it. I certainly did. With Halloween and the New York City Marathon both happening in the same weekend, there was plenty of celebrating to do.

Friday night, Tammi and I walked DUMBO as a part of the ArtCrawl, which included many of the neighborhood's galleries. Saturday evening, we hit the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade Saturday evening with our friend Saun. I hadn't gone out to see that spectacle since I was a kid, so it was a lot of fun to be in the middle of it again.

After that, it was an evening of party-hopping from Boerum Hill out to Fort Greene until late into the night.

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The next day we were up bright and early to get out to our usual Marathon viewing spot in Fort Greene. We got a group together to cheer on the runners and watched from the elites through to the back of the pack.

Of course, Halloween and Marathon photos are posted on Flickr. Read about all that and more on my Examiner column.

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October 30, 2009

Feeling Autumnal

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I can't say I've ever been fond of Fall. The days are shorter, the weather is colder and historically, it was the time to go back to school and spend less time playing. These days, there isn't a ton of time for play one way or the other, but work (day job and otherwise) does seem to intensify around this time or year. Everything seems busier and busier by the day, with very little time to figure out what's been done.

I'm trying to stop to take a breath from time to time to appreciate the beauty that the season has to offer and remember that all this work is an investment in future payoffs.

October 29, 2009

Recently on The Examiner

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Apologies for the sporadic posts of late. I'm still trying to figure out how to balance my posting here with my Examiner column. I have some things in the works that hope will help me keep the blog going and maybe tie my various online exploits together better.

In the meantime, I'm going to start a weekly post here recapping some of what I've been up to elsewhere, particularly on Examiner.

There's a lot to catch up on, so this will be longer than most will be.

To start, last week I went to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, above, to shoot an Oktoberfest event at co-sponsored by Brooklyn Based. That was a lot of fun and I got to play with some of the techniques I'm learning in my night photography class.

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Beyond that, I've spent some quality time at Sputnik in recent weeks. First I went to shoot Brand Nubian and in the process got a pass to go back the next week to see Pharoahe Monch.

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Finally, there was also the Big Apple Comic Con, which has grown tremendously from the days I remember in the basement of the Roosevelt Hotel 20 years ago. And with it, the costumed crowd has exploded. The costumes were wonderful and I spent my whole time there getting as many shots of them as I could. A bunch of them ended up featured on Gothamist.

That's the last few weeks in a nutshell. For more details o what I've covered, check out the column on examiner.com, or even better, subscribe!

I hope to have a weekend wrap post up early next week about all the Halloween festivities and the New York City Marathon. Expect sweat and costumes on both counts.

October 4, 2009

Examiner: The Roots play Brooklyn Bowl

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Thursday night, I covered The Ten Dollar Coolhunter Jam hosted by the Roots at Brooklyn Bowl for Examiner.com. It was a great show and all the more exciting to me because, even though I've been a fan of The Roots for 13 years, I haven't seen them live since 2001.

I was right up front and got a bunch of up close shots of the band, the other groups performing and Talib Kweli, who was a surprise guest.

It was also pretty awesome because I hadn't heard of nearly any of the other groups performing and they were all really interesting, playing music that I'd definitely like to hear more of. Personally, I was really blown away by Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew from Sierra Leone. The music brought in influences from all over the place and they just had so much energy on stage that it was palpable.

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Check out the post on the Examiner for links, a slideshow and more details. Even more photos posted on Flickr.

September 28, 2009

Quick Bite: Locanda Verde

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In the name of getting more posts up more often, I'm introducing a new feature: Quick Bite. I'll post an image or two from a (hopefully) recent meal with a note or two.

This weekend, Tammi and I had dinner at the bar at Locanda Verde. I had the awesome ribbons of parpardelle, above, topped with a lamb, veal ragu.

Below is the grilled octopus that I raved about when I posted on LV over the summer.

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Self-Promotion: I'm an Examiner

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One of the many factors impinging on my blog update time lately has been my new gig on Examiner.com, a website made up of locals reviewing and reporting on various beats in their area. I'm now their New York nightlife photographer and have been posting on events for the week or so.

So far, I've covered an art opening at Madame X, the anniversary party at Sweet Revenge, and last weekend's I Love Vinyl Party.

If you've got a party, opening or anything else generally nightlife-y going on, let me know and I'll try to come through to cover it.

Stop by the site early and often, as I'm trying to put together posts several times a week. If you want to get it in your feed reader, you can also subscribe.

That said, I do hope to get posting here as well over the next couple days. I've got photos and stories from Seattle, Vancouver and a few leftover from Philly and Los Angeles.

September 9, 2009

The Smoke Condition

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I understand that it's probably wise for MTA staff to avoid saying 'fire' on a crowded train during rush hour. But I still think that 'smoke condition' is a stupid euphemism.

August 25, 2009

Der Schwarz Kolner Opens!

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Fort Greene's brand new Beer Hall, Der Schwarz Kolner opened a couple weeks ago after much anticipation. Tammi and I ended up getting there 15 minutes after they opened. The menu was still in flux and there was much frantic bouncing around by the staff, but the energy in the room was great.

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As the name implies, they specialize in the cuisine of Koln (or Cologne to you francophiles). What that means in practical matters is that you get plenty of wonderful Kolsch beer. As I've mentioned before, Kölsch is "light and sweet, but with a bite of hops that provides a zen-like balance." And thus a perfect summer beer.

We hung out there for a couple hours, sampling the compact (three item) menu. The bratwurst was juicy and well spiced. The pretzels were tasty, but lacked salt for some reason. The last dish, which had an odd (read: German) name was nothing more complicated than a slab of gouda cheese and a roll. Tammi's rather fond of gouda, so she gobbled that up and loved it.

Before we headed out, we saw an off the menu special coming out of the the kitchen: some tantalizing red kielbasa sausages showed up at the table next to us.

It's a testament to both the draw of a beer hall and the neighborhood that within an hour of our arrival, the place was already crowded. I know I'll be back.

(Many thanks to Eater for linking to my opening day photos)

August 24, 2009

Sweet Revenge BBQ Rib-Off

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Sweet Revenge, on the border of Bed-Stuy and Clinton Hill, hosted a Barbecue Rib competition yesterday. Sadly, I only got one rib because I had to head out early, but I did have a good time hanging out for an hour or two before that.

I don't get out to Sweet Revenge a lot, because it's on the exact opposite end of Bed-Stuy from where we are, but it's a fun place with a good beer selection and a spiffy backyard with a 'sandbox' beach area.

Sweet Revenge
348 Franklin Ave
Brooklyn, NY‎
718.398.2472‎

August 23, 2009

The Cloisters

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As with most New Yorkers, there are a million sights, attractions and cultural institutions that I rarely if ever take advantage of. It's not that I don't want to, but life gets in the way most of the time and tourists get in the way the rest.

The Cloisters has been high on my list of places I wanted to visit for the better part of a decade. I visited it once, in sixth grade, 20 years ago(!).

This weekend, we're watching our niece and I thought it would be a good thing to take her to. My mom came along, too, with her neighbor's 10 year old in tow.

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I could have chosen a better day, given that this weekend Hurricane Bill brushed up against the Northeast, dumping even more water on us via some -freaky- storms.

Even so, I really enjoyed walking through the space. It's really an amazing thing, when you think about it. Rockefeller bought and moved brick by brick cloisters from five different churches around Europe here to New York. From a contemporary perspective, an exercise of wealth that massive is at once repellent and awe-inspiring.

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This summer has been ridiculously busy, and the fall is already starting to get booked up, but I hope that to be able to return before too long.

Going Analog

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A week ago, I discovered my old film SLR in the back of my closet. It's been a whirlwind of shooting ever since.

There's a softness in the edges and the hues in images on film that I find really interesting. I'm still learning about the effects and how to work with them. And of course the arcane nature of the whole enterprise appeals to my geekiness. I've been relearning film speeds and adjusting to manual focus.

As I've gotten into photography more over the last couple of years, I've avoided film for a number of reasons. High among them was that I ultimately like the instant gratification of digital.

I like the trial and error and still really feel that it's easier to learn the right settings when you can see what you do right or wrong right away. That's especially true compared to a medium that can take days to weeks to months or years to finally get developed.

I don't see myself giving up digital. It's just too useful and practical. So, in my own particular brand of obsession, I've taken to carrying around -both- my digital slr and my film slr. And the Holga that Tammi got me 2 years ago that I never got the film developed from until last week. After seeing the photos from the Holga, including the one above, I'm hooked on that too.

As usual, photos are posted on Flickr.

Further down the rabbit hole I go...

August 21, 2009

Farmers Market Update

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It's been a few weeks since I sent out an update about the Malcolm X Blvd Community Farmers Market, here in Bed-Stuy. After the big push following the threat of Migliorelli pulling out, traffic has risen to a consistent level of about 150 customers a week. Many thanks to Brownstoner, Bed-Stuy Blog and all the other sites that spread the word.

We're still working on publicizing the market, so more of our neighbors know it's going on. This afternoon I spent an hour putting flyers in doors around the area.

On Wednesday, Tammi and I, along with some other volunteers and the Reverends Jackson. We discussed the plans to continue pushing the market forward and to host a fundraising event at the Brooklyn Rescue Mission next month.

Tara put together notes from the meeting and sent out a message with the highlights:

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For those who were unable to attend, here are some highlights:   1. The first fundraising event is scheduled for September 27th. This will be a "garden" party to be held at the Bed Stuy farm with cooking demos, music, and friends! This is definitely more of a community mixer: entry to this event will be low cost. We are currently working on reaching out to local businesses who would be interested in donating product for a raffle that will allow us to supplement money raised with the entry donations.   2. Market Expansion: Now that we've got Migliorelli staying and traffic to the market is increasing, the BRM wants to add more! If you haven't been in a few weeks, we now have a fresh bread vendor in addition to a baked goods vendor. There are still additional vendor slots available (of all kinds-though food is preferred) so if you know anyone who would like to become a vendor at the market, please contact brooklynrescue@msn.com. We're also looking for chefs and amateur gourmets interested in doing food demonstrations using Farmer's Market items. We're also looking for musicians interested in performing at the market! Come perform and sell your CDs!   3. Increase market attraction: Despite increased traffic to the market, we know not enough people in the community know about it. 150,000 residents and only a handful of volunteers makes it difficult. We're continuing with efforts to get the word out. We still have flyer cards that you can pick up at the BRM or at the market on Saturdays. Distribute on your block! We're also looking for contact information for the block associations in the area so if you are active on your block association, please email me! We will also be moving forward with an effort to put up flyers and posters on every corner in the neighborhood!   We want to keep momentum going, especially in light of the event on 9/27. We will be holding another meeting this coming Wednesday at 7pm. Please attend if you can! Meetings will not be as frequent but we definitely would like to meet and do as much planning and action as we can now. As you all know, the Brooklyn Rescue Mission has been getting quite a bit of press on the internet as well as in print (Daily News) and on TV (News 12 and CW 11), and its important to seize any and all opportunities to get the word out about the market and the Bed Stuy Farm! If you can spare an hour next week, please come and learn how you can help!

Volunteer's Meeting-Wednesday 8/26-7pm
255 Bainbridge btwen Malcolm X and Patchen
 
See you there!

Tara

August 16, 2009

Another Mystery: Jennifer Denapoli

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Much like the guys I saw in Fort Greene, I felt like I was walking into someone else's story when I saw these pages taped up to the walls at the exit of the walls of the Herald Square station on my way to work. I don't know who Jennifer Denapoli is or who it is that misses her so much, but maybe posting this will one day yield even a glimpse of the story behind it all.

August 13, 2009

Markets: Food Dimensions

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I discovered Food Dimensions entirely by accident. Shortly after Tammi and I moved into our place, I was following a lead on a Western Beef Outlet, which turned out to be nothing special.

But on the way, I passed Food Dimensions, which just seemed like any other supermarket. The difference became clear when I got to the back of the store. The meat market takes up maybe a quarter of the store and there's often a crew of butchers working behind the counter.

Being right on the edge of Bushwick, the meat available is much more diverse than the standard fare at other similar supermarkets around the city. Besides the sausages in styles representing Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Mexico, there are cuts of meat that represented the concept of whole animal eating long before it became trendy. There are tongues and feet and tripe; skin and fatty bits are labeled as chicharrones. This is where I bought my first Lechon, the suckling pig I prepared Cuban style for our holiday party in '07.

They've also got a respectable fish market offering prices and selection not quite as good as Chinatown, but better than anywhere else I know. Last visit, Lobsters were available for $9 a pound, which is quite the bargain.

There are two reasons I don't include this in the Butchery series. The first is that the majority of the meat is packaged ahead of time, meaning there isn't necessarily always the same opportunity to work closely with the butchers to get what you want.

The other reason is that they've got a vast selection of Latin ingredients. Cactus leaves, espazote, chipotle peppers of both the canned and dried varieties, cheeses of many textures and flavors and so much more. Walking through the aisles is an adventure for me. I invariably end up picking up something I've never heard of just to see what I can do with it.

August 12, 2009

Lunch: Shut Out of the Outdoors

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My favorite (read: only convenient) outdoor space near my office has been locked up and fenced off for the better part of a month. It's doubly disappointing as it seemed to coincide exactly with the arrival of seasonal weather.

There's no sign or readily apparent explanation as to why it's locked up, but it is certainly a disappointment for the many local workers, like myself, starved for daylight and seeking a mere 15 minute respite from the office to soak up a little sun. Being on a side street, the space benefited from being just out of the way enough to avoid the throngs of tourists that shuffle around the base of the Empire State Building.

But now there's nothing. We either have to wade through the crowds to get to Herald Square, the heart of the swarm, where aimless tourists and shoppers meander or the benches in front of the old B. Altman's building where you can vie for spaces with the homeless.

Or, it's back to shoveling food into your mouth at your desk before someone says, "I don't want to interrupt your lunch but..."

August 11, 2009

Locanda Verde

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The night before leaving for LA, Tammi and I had dinner at Locanda Verde, the great new restaurant in the Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca. It was our second time there, after a birthday meal there in June.

The restaurant has gotten a huge amount of press on the blogs since it opened in late May and I have to say it's pretty well deserved.

I don't really know where to start describing the highlights of the meal without just listing everything.

The blue crab crostino was nicely spiced with black pepper to enhance the flavor of the crab.

The Lamb Meatball sliders are amazing. We had that the last time and had to have it again. The meat was richly flavored without any powerful gaminess to it was topped with a cheesy tomato sauce and pickle. I could eat them all night.

The grilled octopus was tender, but still had just the right firmness. The fish flavor was clearly present without being overpowering. And it had just the right amount of char to counter the other tastes.

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The winner of the night was Tammi's linguine with shellfish. Its sauce was sweet and creamy with flavors of herbs, garlic, lemon battling out with chunks of lobster, shrimp and clams tossed in. It was amazing.

There was plenty more, but I'm trying to keep it brief. Just thinking about it is making me hungry.

Locanda Verde
377 Greenwich Street
New York NY 10013
212.941.8900

August 10, 2009

Lunch: MFC (formerly Bon Chon)

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A month or so ago the Bon Chon Chicken in Koreatown (and I believe the location in Flushing) suddenly changed its name to Mad For Chicken. According to Midtown Lunch, this is a familiar story:

Ah yes- the old open a franchise... steal the recipe... decide you don't want to pay the royalties anymore game. If this whole thing sounds familiar, it's because it is. Shorty's (on 9th Ave. btw. 41+42nd) did the same thing to Tony Luke's. Thankfully for Midtown Lunch'ers one commenter is reporting that the chicken pretty much tastes the same as it always has, but I'm guessing it still takes forever to get your order. Thanks to Lunch'er Paul for passing along this link to the Bon Chon Website.

I stopped in for lunch before a couple weeks ago and can verify that on all counts, things are about the same. The chicken was the same, if slightly spicier and the service was just as slow.

I will say this though, the place did seem more crowded that I had ever seen it during lunch. And the waiter actually warned me that the food would take about 45 minutes, which I don't think I've ever seen before - it always takes that long, they just don't usually warn you.

Lunch: Num Pang

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Farther afield than even the extended area I've been attempting to survey as part of my walking project, Num Pang's sandwiches are good enough to hop a train for. I was downtown running a couple errands during lunch and took the opportunity to sample the pork belly special.

The sandwich, above, sported meltingly tender pork belly topped with pickled cucumber and rhubarb, shredded carrots and sprigs of cilantro. The flavors and textures fell together magically. The roll, which I worried might be too thick, turned out to fold perfectly with the meet when biting into it.

My only complaint was structural. The pickled rhubarb, simultaneously tangy, tart and sweet, was left in whole stalks, which are rather difficult to bite through. Each bite I struggled to get through it without yanking the entire piece out of the sandwich. If it had been cut up into smaller bits, the logistics of eating the sandwich would have been more convenient.

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Num Pang serves Cambodian sandwiches. They are similar to Vietnamese sandwiches in that they include a good deal of tender pork, stinging spice and tangy pickles, but with wider variations than what I've seen at traditional Vietnamese spots. I can't speak to other Cambodian sandwich shops, Num Pang seems to shine brightest on it's often changing menu of specials. Of course, it's regular menu is nothing to write off either.

Num Pang
21 east 12th street, new york, ny 10003
phone: 212.255.3271

August 9, 2009

The Highline and What's Wrong with New York

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If you haven't heard, the Highline is a freight rail line that used to run through the warehouses of the lower west side of Manhattan, delivering meat and such to the meat-packing district long before the neighborhood's primary appeal became Sex & The City tours and douchebaggery. In recent decades, it's been abandoned and overrun with weeds and become the hidden gem of The City. The only way to access it was to climb up random fire escapes or scale walls.

Flash to the present, after much lobbying from locals, the Highline has been turned into a park and it's the new 'It' spot in the 'It' neighborhood downtown. After opening in early June amid the deluge that just barely missed the rainfall record in city history, the droves that plague any and everything worth attending have invaded.

So, yeah, I'm bitter. The day that Tammi and I tried to go up there and found the scene above. There was a line to get to The Highline. A line. To get to a park. We weren't down.

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So yeah. We still haven't been to the Highline. I guess I have to wait for the most undesirable time to go and hope that no else has the same idea.

August 3, 2009

Butchery At Home: The Fourth of July

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That's right, I cut up another pig. It's late for me to post this, but, hey, I actually have a little time for once.

All my talk of butchery got me interested in doing a bit of my own. For our July 4th shindig, I bought a 37 pound pig and cut it up myself. This was the biggest pig I've tackled to date, but after a 16 and a 20 pounder, I had the anatomy down.

Like my first porchetta attempt last year, I deboned the mid-section and seasoned it with fennel pollen, rosemary, garlic and this time, lemon juice instead of full slices.

I rubbed the ribs with a cajun seasoning, which would have been great if there had been any meat to speak of there.

The shoulders and front legs were marinated in a Cuban citrus mixture, what's been a fixture of mine for years. Orange, Lime and Grapefruit juice mixed with vinegar, cumin, onions and garlic.

One back leg was rubbed in an achiote paste and slow roasted on the grill. The other, I have frozen and plan to cure as a ham. I may wait until the humidity goes down so I can avoid the trouble I ran into last time...

And of course, there's the head. Appleman made the wonderful suggestion of braising and then roasting it. It sounded like a great idea, but then I was perplexed by what to braise it in.

I found inspiration looking in the freezer. There were a number of containers full of porchetta stock from the bones of the Christmas party porchetta that I had no idea what I was going to do with. This was the answer.

I slow cooked the head half-covered in the stock and a mixture of the leftover seasonings from the new batch of porchetta, then I put the head on a cast iron and threw it on the grill for a bit to get some smoke and to crisp up.

It worked out really well. I shredded the meat from the cheeks and the ears and snout and chopped it up. it became an unctuous, mass of pulled pork that everyone who tasted it loved. The flavors of fennel and rosemary permeated every bite without dominating and the texture was transcendental in its tenderness.

The pig was definitely a win all around (except for the ribs, which had no meat on them). I don't know the next time I'll be able to do something like this again, but I've certainly eager to braise/roast another head and make wonderful things out of it.

Continue reading "Butchery At Home: The Fourth of July" »

July 30, 2009

Lunch: Soba Totto

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A couple weeks ago, work took me up to a satellite office in the Grand Central area. As soon as I knew I was heading up there I started contemplating my lunch options.

Then it came to me: Japanese. While there's plenty of Korean food coming out of K Town, there isn't much in the way of Japanese food in the area besides some anonymous sushi spots here and there. The east 40's on the other hand hosts a veritable Japantown, catering to an older crowd than the raucous scene down on St. Mark's Place.

Soba Totto is one of my favorite places in the area. One of three upscale izakaya in midtown, I've often enjoyed the yakitori and somewhat exotic fare. All three locations roast interesting skewers of cartilage and rare chicken thighs and such. This location specializes in soba noodles, as seen in the soup on the right.

Most noodles are striking for their texture rather than flavor. Soba's buckwheat base adds another dimension. I'm told that the Japanese consider soba noodles to be comfort food, a taste of home. I'm not sure I have the vocabulary to pinpoint the difference, but I find the flavor to be heartier, meatier.

Paired with that was the bowl of ginger-marinated sauteed pork belly slices on a bed of rice. The whole meal, at $15 was a great deal.

I may have to return for lunch even when I don't just happen to be in the neighborhood.

July 29, 2009

MXB Market: How to Help

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First of all, I'd like to thank Brownstoner for helping let folks know the situation by posting this afternoon about the potential loss of Migliorelli from the market.

Secondly, Tara followed up the email I posted Tuesday with another message letting anyone interested in volunteering know how they can help support the Farmers Market, Brooklyn Rescue Mission and fresh, healthy food in Bed-Stuy. If you would like to contact her to assist in one way or another, please email her at teefiveten (at) gmail.com.

All of you are receiving this email because you expressed interest in volunteering for the Malcolm X Community Farmer's Market. Thank You!

I too am a volunteer and it has been a very enjoyable experience. There are a lot of parts to this market and a lot of different opportunities available to help and donate your time and talents! Here's a bit of an overview of the areas where volunteers are needed.

1. Flyering-Right now, we're in the middle of a HUGE push because we are facing the possibility of Migliorelli Farms, the primary vendor, pulling out after this week due to lower than expected sales. While there are backup farms lined up, obviously we want to keep what we've got because they do bring quality produce and are well known (they sell in markets across the city, including Union Square). The market attendance has been growing steadily the past few weeks but we still need to reach a lot more people. We have colorful flyer cards prepared. There will be some very early morning flyering around the area of the market (Bainbridge, Decatur, Macon, Macdonough between Stuyvesant Av and Malcolm X) this Thursday and Friday morning at 6:30am. If you are available and would like to help, please email me back. If you'd like to do some flyering on your own, let me know and we can coordinate a time for you to pickup flyers from either myself or from the mission directly. Please be sure to let me know what areas you would like to cover so that we do not repeat. I will say right now we need some flyer coverage between Throop and Patchen on Hancock and Halsey Streets.

2. Market Setup and Breakdown-The market runs from 8am-1pm. Volunteers are needed between 7-9am to assist with setup and between 1-3pm for breakdown. Setup involves bringing tables and tents from the Brooklyn Rescue Mission (whichis up the street from the market at 255 Bainbridge) to the market, sweeping the market area, and setting up the tables and tents and signs. Any items that will be sold by the mission on the vendor's behalf will also be setup on the tables. All vendors who sell their items directly are usually responsible for their own setup and breakdown and volunteers do not participate. However, one of the baked goods vendors usually needs some assistance in packaging her freshly baked cookies. Breakdown involves bringing back all tents, tables,and unsold items back to the mission. A car is not necessary but would be helpful during setup and breakdown to minimize the number of trips that need to be made back and forth to the mission.

3.Market Duties-during market hours, volunteers are needed to take customer counts, do some additional marketing/flyering nearby, sell any items that farmers/vendors "drop off", as well as administer customer surveys and obtain signatures for an ongoing petition. There are no specific shift times-whatever times you are available between 8 and 1 will work.

4.Petitioning-Some of you are aware that the mission also has a farm, located on Decatur between Malcolm X and Patchen. This farm is currently on city-owned land, so there is the real possibility that it may be sold. The mission is gathering 1200 signatures in support of protecting the property from a land sale. We are obtaining hand signatures during the market but there is also an online petition if you'd like to send it to your contacts.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/3/save-bed-stuy-farm

5.Fundraising/Event Planning-this area is in desperate need of more people,as I'm currently the only volunteer on this front :). The market does have some overhead as far as materials and printing and other aspects of its operation. We'd like to hold some fundraising events as well as some other events to involve the community to raise awareness about the market, the Bed Stuy Farm, and the Brooklyn Rescue Mission in general. Some ideas thrown around include a Farm Tour/Open House, a Locavore Fundraiser Dinner, as well as a cookoff where contestants would use foods sold at the market. These events are all in the early planning stage so help is needed to move these further along.

6.Harvesting-If you have a bit of a green thumb or just like to get dirty, there are opportunities to volunteer on the farm and harvest all the ripened items grown on the farm.

For those of you most interested in direct market duties, please take a look at our calendar link below. Email me with what market duties you are most interested in as well as dates and times you will be available and we will pencil you into the volunteer calendar. The market runs until November so if you could give us your availability just for August, we will send follow up emails for the other months. We just ask that if you cannot make your assigned 'shift' that you let us know 3 days in advance so that we may make sure we are covered for the week. If you haven't already come to the market, please come by this weekend  and introduce yourself and learn more if you can!  The Reverends are there all day. Don't be shy-you can ask anyone for Robert or DeVanie Jackson.

http://www.google.com/calendar/embed?src=ppdad6lr5ai4c4mft92e078p7k%40group.calendar.google.com&ctz=America/New_York

Thanks again for volunteering. I hope to see you at the market soon!


Thanks,
Tara


July 28, 2009

Will Der Shwarze Kolner Ever Open?

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I first heard rumor of a beer garden opening in Fort Greene, way back in March. Obviously, I was very happy. Beer. Schnitzel. Outdoor space. What's not to love?

And being positioned a block away from Habana Outpost means it'll have an interesting crowd and hopefully will have a moderating effect on the drives that overwhelm the place on the weekends.

But, I was apprehensive. There was no word of when they would be opening. So, I sat tight and didn't think about it.

That is until Brownstoner reported that they would be open by the end of last month. With hopes of tippling over brats and shnitzel for 4th of July Weekend, I stopped by to find it shuttered.

Last week, I passed by again and the gates were half open. I stuck my head in and asked about an opening date, but didn't get anything more than "Soon come."

So, there you go: Soon come.

An Updated Update: MXB Farmers Market in Danger

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No sooner had I posted about some of the goodies at the market last weekend than I get word that it might not be there when I get back from LA. The short version is that the farmer who has been bringing the majority of the great quality produce to the market plans to pull out because they aren't getting enough business.

Below is the message from Tara, who has been involved with the organizing for the market. It includes some solid steps that each of us can take to help save the market. Please read through, but the key thing to do would be to come out to support the market and to tell as many people as you can about it.

Here's Tara's message:

I know at this point some of you are probably sick of my Farmer's Market emails, but I ask that you please bear with me yet again because this is really important.

On Saturday while I was at the market, we got word that Migliorelli Farms, the sole farmer's vendor at the market at this time, will not be back after this coming Saturday, as the sales at the market have not been enough to cover their expenses (labor and gas) in coming out to the market. While the number of people visiting and purchasing at the market has been increasing (we do customer counts), it has not yet been sufficient. The market has only been open three weeks this season so this is definitely not good for momentum.

While the Brooklyn Rescue Mission will not be deterred and there will always be a market on Saturday, this is definitely a setback, as it took many calls and emails on their behalf to get a farm such as Migliorelli to sell at the market and will take even more effort to find a replacement vendor. The BRM is only interested in bringing quality food to the neighborhood so to have a farm like Migliorelli, that also sells in Union Square, was definitely a big step towards having more food equity in the area.  Unfortunately, there just hasn't been enough of a presence by local residents. Bedford Stuyvesant is a large neighborhood and despite the ads in the local papers, blog postings, emails, the several thousand flyers distributed throughout the area, there are definitely still some people we haven't yet reached, but there are also a lot of people who do know about the market and have chosen to not visit it, for whatever reason. This is unfortunate as those who have visited have been very pleased with the selection, quality, and price of the produce. We've also added a fresh bread vendor and the Brooklyn Rescue Mission is still working on bringing more vendors on, such as a honey vendor.

This email isn't to shame Migliorelli as it is understandable that they need to meet their margin and cannot operate at a loss. This is more of a "community call", as it seems we are proving the case many have been saying about Bed Stuy: that we cannot maintan and sustain a farmer's market in this community. I don't believe this, the Brooklyn Rescue Mission doesn't believe this, and they are working hard to prove these people wrong. You can help by coming out this Saturday, August 1st and visiting the market and doing your produce shopping for the week at the market. I also ask that you keep coming as often as you can after this Saturday but I truly believe that after you come on Saturday and see what the market has to offer, you'll come regularly on your own because it truly is growing into something the community can be proud to support. I know we all have our likes and dislikes about the community and access to quality food is definitely one of them. It isn't enough knowing that there's a market in the area-we have to support it as well to make it sustainable!

Malcolm X Community Farmer's Market
Malcolm X Blvd between Marion and Chauncey Streets-in front of Jackie Robinson Park
8am-1pm (Migliorelli often stays past 1pm)
A/C train to Utica Avenue (the market is right around the corner!)
B46 or B25  to Malcolm X and Fulton (market is right across the street!)

If you want to "see" what the market has to offer, check some of the photos taken by some bloggers who have come by the market:

Off To Market (DigitalTammi)

A Farmers Market Grows in Brooklyn(UltraClay)

Saturday is Farmers Market Day
(Bed-Stuy Blog)

Please tell everyone you know! If they live in or near Bed Stuy or love local produce or is just down to support something that helps build community-tell them to come out this Saturday. I hope to see you there. If you cannot make it out on Saturday, you can help us this week by picking up some flyers at the Brooklyn Rescue Mission to distribute-contact me for more information. I have to plug yet again that there are other volunteer opportunities relating to the market so you can contact me about that as well.

Thanks,
Tara

July 27, 2009

MXB Farmers Market Update

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On Saturday, before heading to JFK, I went to the Farmer's Market with Tammi. I grabbed some apricots and sweet plums (above) for the flight.

Tammi stuck to help out. She wrote a post on her blog about what they were selling this weekend, including a new seller that sounds like it attracted a crowd:

Fresh bread made with all natural ingredients, provided by Rick of R&R Distributors. This bread comes from Silver Bell Bakery in Corona, Queens. The bakery has been around for 100 years. Rick had crowds around him for a good part of the morning. People just couldn't get enough of the bread. He also sells whole wheat pasta and gluten free items...

It'll be another couple weeks before I can get back to the market, but it sounds like it's going well. As always, if you live in the neighborhood, I urge you to go out and support it.

July 17, 2009

Reminder: MXB Farmers Market Week 2

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Just a reminder here for all those in the neighborhood that tomorrow is week 2 of the Malcolm X Blvd Farmers Market, brought to us by Brooklyn Rescue Mission.

Yesterday, Brownstoner featured my post about last week's market.

Tammi also posted about it on her blog and Erica, a neighbor we met last weekend put together a slideshow on her blog, Erica Eats.

We're all trying to publicize this as much as we can. Hopefully when I'm next in town for the market, that it will have quite the following.

---
Malcolm X Blvd Farmers Market
Jackie Robinson Park
Malcolm X Blvd and Marion Street, 1 block from Fulton Street

For more information about the market or Brooklyn Rescue Mission go to:

http://brooklynrescuemission.org/farmstand.aspx

To volunteer, call 718 363-3085

July 16, 2009

Lunch Explorations

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I complain about the culinary wasteland that is Midtown, but all things considered, I'm in a relatively good spot to eat if I take a little more than the customary 15 minutes to grab something quick and eat at my desk.

Last week, Tammi and I started working on losing some weight. I refuse to call it a diet, but healthier living is probably for the best, so we'll see what happens. There may be some mention of it here and there on the blog, but if you want weekly updates on such things, see Ed Levine. That's not my thing.

Here's where it's relevant: One of my goals is to walk more and I figure what's more motivating for me that food? So, I'm trying to get out to some of those places that are pretty close to my office, but further than I would usually consider for lunch. Think 2nd Avenue, Curry Hill or Chelsea. All within 10 blocks of my office, but outside of the 2 block radius I typically lock myself into.

My trip to Baoguette was my first such excursion. My goal is to do this at least once a week. If nothing else, it should make for some more interesting eating options which can't be bad.

July 13, 2009

Oyster Sliders at Ed's Lobster Bar

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This is the most wonderful thing ever: Oyster Sliders.
Bacon-wrapped. Fried. Oyster. Sliders.

Seriously.

July 12, 2009

A Farmers Market Grows in Bed-Stuy

Malcolm X Blvd. Community Farmers Market

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Yesterday morning, Tammi and I put our time where our mouths are and volunteered at the first market of the season of the Malcolm X Blvd. Community Farmers Market here in Bed-Stuy.

My initial fears of just about anything done in the neighborhood is that it'll be half-assed. I've seen it over and over, people have big ideas but nothing to back it up. But my worries were unfounded. While a little disorganized, the market brought a great turnout of volunteers and what I hope is just the beginning of neighborhood denizens taking advantage of the only farm fresh fruits and vegetables on offer for miles.

The Reverends Jackson, who run this farmers market as a part of the Brooklyn Rescue Mission (more on that later) have managed to bring in some farmers from the Greenmarket circuit this year. Yesterday, folks from Migliorelli Farm offered some great vegetables, including baby fennel, bok choy, various braising greens, Japanese turnips and good selection of fresh fruits.

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Later in the morning, there was a cooking demo where this woman, who I didn't get to meet showed folks how to prepare many of the ingredients on hand.

Another farmer supplied 100 lbs of organic beans to the mission to repackage and sell per pound. Tammi, along with some other volunteers and summer youth workers divvied them out into one pound packs. When I saw the rich, deep colors of the black and the dark red beans, I had to buy some for myself.

In fact, I had to run back home to get a bag to haul back all the veggies that I bought.

Next week more farmers tables will be up as well as someone selling fresh baked bread and artisanal honey, among other things.

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If I'm gushing here, it's because I'm very excited to have something like this in the neighborhood. I've lived in Bed-Stuy for a long time and there has been a dearth of markets offering anything fresh for the last decade. It's about half a mile from my house to any place offering any vegetables that aren't shriveled and moldy. Having this mere blocks away will alter the quality of life in this area for tons of us who have been trekking to Fort Greene or Park Slope or Union Square to get food that has been well cared for.

I'm going to be out of town for a fair portion of the rest of the summer weekends, so I want to do my part to make the market a success by spreading the word as much as I can. I hope to post regularly about which sellers will be coming in and what food will be available.

Stay tuned.

Malcolm X Blvd. Community Farmers Market
Jackie Robinson Park, Malcolm X Blvd and Marion Street
Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn
Saturdays, 8am - 1pm through the summer.

July 10, 2009

New York: A Photographic Album

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If I end up a big name photographer 10 years from now, it certainly
won't be based on my skills as a self-promoter.

I've been sitting on some exciting news for a while now and basically
just not getting around to posting about it.

Just a week or so after receiving my copy of the Queens International
Catalog
, I got my copy of New York: A Photographic Album, which has
about a dozen of my photos in it!

The editor, Gabriela Kogan, contacted me for permission a while ago and I forgot about it.

This is the third book that has used my work. I can't begin to describe how gratifying it is to see my images in print. Even more exciting is when I come across the books in stores. Saint Mark's Books stocks both This New York book and
Untitled.: Street Art in the Counter Culture
, my first publication.

This makes it my favorite book store ever.

July 9, 2009

Butchery: The Times Catches On The Rock Star Trend

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I have to say it was pretty gratifying to see The Paper of Record chime in on the Butchery theme I've been going on about.

Most of the New York scene mentioned in the story were things I've been following and planning on posting about, but it was interesting to read about what's going on in San Francisco in particular. I'll have to make a point of seeking out such things the next time I'm in the area.

I'm also interested in reading Julie Powell's upcoming book about her time at Fleisher's, the Meat Mecca of the east. And I may finally have to finish reading Heat just so I can read more about Dario Cecchini, who I've mentioned here before.

In any case, if you have any interest in all this meat talk, the story is worth the read just for tips on others doing this butchery thing. Enjoy!

July 1, 2009

Music In The Streets

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In those few, precious moments of dry, warm weather, I've found myself appreciating the street musicians I otherwise pass by without a second thought.

Above is one of the many groups I saw one weekend in Washington Square Park. I didn't get a name for their group, but their sound was old fashioned, with the washboard playing and the twenties-style singing. The comeback of this warbling, rustic sound complements the 'speakeasy' trend in the bars and restaurants that have been popping up everywhere.

Below is a similarly old-school group called the Scandinavian Half-breeds, in front of the bike shop on Vanderbuilt during Summer Streets.

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The emotions and gestures on display by performers offer ranges much more difficult to find in everyday life. As I spend more time trying to improve my photography, I hope to get the opportunity to capture more of these artists expressions and moments.

If I manage to get enough together, I may put together a series of photos here on the blog along with information about the performers.

June 30, 2009

"This is history right here!"

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I don't know who these dudes were, I passed them on the street the other day while I was walking through Fort Greene with the camera.

One of them yelled out, "Yo! Take our picture! This is history right here!"

Having no connection to them or their story, I could feel their excitement about the big things they're looking forward to.

I never found out who they were or what that history was going to be. It was like walking into the end of a movie, without knowing the characters or their hopes and aspirations, but just brushing against their story. Maybe one day someone will look through my old photos or find this post in the archives and tell me that one or all of them are the the greatest... of all time.

Until then, it'll be a mystery.

June 28, 2009

Curing: FAIL

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If I'm going to really discuss my curing experiments, I have to acknowledge my failures along with the successes. My first attempt at a country-style ham was, sadly, quite the catastrophe.

I've cured a ham before. It was wonderful. I put a pork leg in a brine of Apple juice and hard cider and left it to brine over our honeymoon. When we got back, I let it hang in the basement for a couple weeks. It worked out really well and I served it up at our holiday party in December.

After that, I decided to go a step further. Ruhlman has a recipe for a cure that aged a lot longer and ended up as rich and dry as a Spanish jamon serrano or a southern Country ham. It called for a minimum of 4 months aging after weeks buried in salt.

I think it was the salting where I messed up. I engulfed a 20 pound leg in kosher salt for the nearly entire month of January. Unfortunately, I was out of town for most of the month, so I wasn't able to keep it under observation for that whole time. When I got back from the X Games, a good deal of the top layer of meat was exposed. I'm presuming this is where it all went wrong. I dumped more salt on top, but perhaps the damage was done.

Regardless, it obviously didn't work out. Back to the drawing board.

June 26, 2009

The Prospect Heights Ninja

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While walking down the Vanderbuilt Summer Streets I encountered my friend Ethan being stretched out by folks from Prudent Fitness. I hung around to talk to Ethan for bit and ended up seeing Phil here do a martial arts demonstration with a sword. Not something you see every day.

June 25, 2009

Wine Therapy

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We tried and failed to get a table at Saraghina the other day, but in the process came across another upcoming gem in the neighborhood (I hope).

Therapy Wine Bar is set to open up on Lewis between Macon and Halseynext month some time.

I'll be keeping an eye out for it, so stay tuned for details...

June 24, 2009

Butchery With Bryan


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Yesterday, I had the privilege of going behind the counter of Provisions in Fort Greene to photograph some butchery in action. Bryan has shown up here before in his experiments, curing lamb and trying to bring kid goat to the masses. I stop in from time to time just to see what he's been working on.

The other day, I asked if I could come in one day when he was taking something apart and he was awesome enough to allow me to watching dismantle a whole beef leg. It was quite impressive to see.

I'm generally working on a photo project about people working with food, particularly meat. I have no idea where I'm going with it, but this shoot should help me develop it further.

To see the photos, in all their gory details, see the set on Flickr.

Markets: Garlic Scapes

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I discovered garlic scapes a few weeks ago at the farmers market. I had read the name before but had no idea what they were or what to do with them. That's generally enough to inspire me to try something out, but I was particularly interested because of its intriguing shape.

I've heard that a great way to prepare them is to grill or broil them, but so far I've only sauteed them. To date, I've tossed them in with noodles and sausage and Tammi stir-fried them the other night.

We have a few more in the house from our CSA haul, so I might find something else interesting to do with them tonight...

June 23, 2009

Washington Square Park Reopened

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After what feels like an eternity of construction and nonsense, Washington Square Park has finally reopened. It's been easily 15 years since I've spent a significant amount of time hanging out in the park, but walking through it still evokes feelings of home for me.

The renovation, while silly in some places, has made a vast improvement on the park. I walked through it a couple weeks ago, on an unusual summery day and took in the people and the sites.

Now that it has reopened, I hope to spend more time out there people watching and enjoying the new space.

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June 22, 2009

Krishna BBQ?

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In the middle of the BBQ Fest, a parade of Hare Krishna's marched down Fifth Avenue past the park. Somehow, I doubt that any of them detoured into the Block Party, but I like to think that the temptation was intense.

June 20, 2009

Summer streets: Vanderbuilt

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As an extension of last year's Summer Street's program, the city is shutting down traffic on Vanderbuilt every Sunday in June. I went last weekend and got to see Prospect Heights out and about enjoying music and playing games.

There are only 2 Sundays left, so be sure to check it out soon if you're in the area.

June 9, 2009

Opening: Saraghina

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Saraghina, a new artisanal pizzeria opened up tonight in Bed-Stuy.

We had heard the rumors for months. I didn't know when. I didn't know where. But some sort of sit-down pizza restaurant was opening in Bed-Stuy eventually. Sadly, in this neighborhood, eventually can stretch into years.

I was pretty excited when I finally found details on Grub Street about Saraghina. Most important among them was that they would be slinging pies in the 'hood within a week.

Yesterday, we stopped in to talk a look. What we found was the beginning of a friends and family opening party and a chef ecstatic to show off his new place.

We didn't make the opening but hope to get out there this weekend.

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June 4, 2009

i2Y '09

Here's a quick heads up that DJ Juice E is going to be DJing the "I'm Too Young for This" un-gala again this year. Last year I reposted Emily's email about the event. Here's her message for this year's event:


Hi Everyone!!

About a year ago, I sent out a special request to YOU to come out and celebrate my 1-year out of chemo anniversary at I'm Too Young For This's Stupid Cancer Gala. I must say that I was floored by the response I got. I was amazed by how many of you bought tickets or donated funds. It made me prouder than ever and thankful to know such great people. That's why I was so glad to get a call from my friend Matthew Zachary who runs I'm Too Young For This asking me if I'd wanna spin at this year's Stupid Cancer (un)Gala on Wednesday, June 10. My answer: OF COURSE I WOULD! I CAN'T WAIT!! And now I'm hoping that once again, YOU'll help support this wonderful event for a very special cause.

For those of you who are new in my life, here's the recap: I am a Cancer survivor. And darn proud of it! This past March marked 2 years free from Cervical Cancer (knock on wood PLEASE!). I was initially diagnosed back in '05 at the age of waaytooyoung and subsequently underwent 2 years of on and off poking, prodding, having parts removed, tubes put in, blood drawn, chemicals administered, AND- somewhere deep in my records at Sloan Kettering I believe there are some compromising Polaroids of me that even Playboy would find indecent! (They said it was for radiation, but who really knows?! Look at Farrah!) Basically, I went thru the works. And for the past 2 years I am back at Sloan Kettering every 3 months like clockwork to make sure that those evil little squamous cells don't come back.



This has been an ongoing journey for me and my loved ones and I admit that I'm a much better person for it. I'm lucky. I have tons of family and friends who have supported me thru it all- and since. However I have met many young survivors who have no support system. Which of course brings me to that part where I've gotta ask YOU to cough up some MONEY!! I'm Too Young For This is a wonderful organization dedicated to supporting young adults, 18-40 with cancer. This reason that this is sooo important is that we are the fastest growing group of cancer patients. This is mostly due to that fact that doctors don't expect us to get sick. Therefore we go undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed- which is exactly what happened to yours truly. The other important aspect of this organization is that it has a strong emphasis on the arts. I guess YOU can all figure out why that's important to someone like me!!


I realize that everyone and their mother is fundraising for something or other these days (and I'm pretty sure that my mother'll back me on this one too!) (HI MOM!!) But seriously, please help us out and buy a ticket. Even if you can't make it out. The minimum is $25 but we'll take any small donation that YOU can manage. The event runs from 7-10pm- so plenty of time for YOU to come out, get seriously drunk and still make it to work the next day!! I'll be DJing along with my great friend- and the most amazing DJ I know- DP1. There'll be raffles, food, drinks, giveaways and a lot of very cool people. And just in case ya missed it- I'll be there!!

So there you have it. Feel free to check out their website: http://www.ImTooYoungForThis.Org
http://ungala.i2y.com/
Wednesday, June 10 @ the Taj Lounge
48 W 21st St, NYC
$25 = sponsor a survivor
$25 = admission
$45 = admission + free drink + 5 raffle tix
$65 = open bar! (beer, wine and soda)
Plus you might go to heaven. Who knows, right?

Finally- to all my friends at MSK- Thanks for all your hard work and for takin such good care of me!!
Now buy sum tickets!!!

Hope to see ya there!!!

Emily "Juice E" Rubin- Friend, DJ and very proud Cancer Survivor.

June 2, 2009

BAM's Dance Africa Festival

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Memorial Day was busy. After hanging out at Habana Outpost, Tammi and I went to the Dance Africa festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

In the last few years, the festival has effectively taken the place of the African Street Festival, which had been a summer milestone every year since my childhood. After moving from Boys & Girls High School to Commodore Barry park under the BQE, it has faltered into obscurity.

Thankfully, Dance Africa is a lot of fun in its own right, though much smaller.

We didn't catch any of the dance performances that are usually hosted in front of BAM this year, but we did wade into the market area and peruse the wares on offer. Carvings, fabric, and all sorts of food could be found as African, American and West Indian music blasted from one booth after another.

And what could mark the beginning of summer more than running into friends I haven't seen in years? In the sea of people, we just happened to see Olivia and Taya, who I don't think I've seen since High School, many moons ago.

Hopefully the weather will begin to cooperate and there will be more such outings throughout the season.

May 29, 2009

Taking Back The Streets of Midtown

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Starting Monday, May 25th, the Department of Traffic blocked off traffic on two stretches of Broadway in Midtown. It's part of a pilot program that creates a pedestrian mall for five blocks in Times Square and two blocks at Herald Square.

As someone who worked in Times Square for four years, I can't begin to tell you how much that extra room is needed. Just being able to bypass the tourists will be a vast quality of life improvement. Beyond that, having more outdoor space to sit in the sun and eat lunch in is greatly appreciated.

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On Sunday I was in the area and got to see the DOT workers repainting the road. It's exciting to see where the city is going with these pedestrian and bike-friendly programs. It started with more bike lanes popping up all over town, which has been very helpful to me as a nascent bike-rider. Then last year, the Summer Streets programs opened up miles of
road to bicyclists and runners and strolling pedestrians every Saturday in August.

Apparently, this is all the work of Janette Sadik-Khan, the Transportation Commissioner. I won't bother to paraphrase the more extensive New York Magazine article, which goes more in-depth into the commissioners plans as well as her opponents around the city.

I, for one, support the idea that since pedestrians vastly outnumber drivers, we should probably get more space. But that probably makes me as much a 'radical' as she is.

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Depending on how the pilot program fares, the spaces will be made permanent and the areas will be redesigned to cater to the new use. For now, orange barriers like these will keep the streets safe for pedestrians.

The unfortunate part of the entire arrangement is that most New Yorkers, myself included will still rush through these areas due to the complete saturation of tourists. But at least we'll be able to get by faster.

May 28, 2009

Habana Outpost: Summer Time is Here

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I've posted about The Outpost's re-opening every year since I've been blogging. This year, I'm behind the times. They opened up with a street festival as usual that included a performance by KRS-One (that I missed by minutes).

On Memorial Day, Tammi and I had our first Cuban sandwiches of the year and spent a couple hours relaxing over food, drink, and beats provided by DJ Juice E.

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This year there were a few subtle decor changes here and there, but other than that, it was still the Habana Outpost we've come to know and love. The place is a lot more crowded these days than it was those many years ago when they first opened but it's still a good time.

May 27, 2009

I Love Vinyl Party

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Saturday night saw the debut of the I Love Vinyl party at Le Poisson Rouge in The Village. Friends DJs Jon Oliver and Scribelove among others went retro and ditched their laptops for an evening of old-fashioned record spinning.

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We weren't there very late, but Tammi and I had a great time listening to the beats and feeling the crowd.

The word is that the party was such a success that they're already planning a follow up for next month:

June 26, 2009
10pm-4am

The Gallery Bar @ Le Poisson Rouge
158 Bleecker St, NYC.

May 26, 2009

Seaport Market: Attempt #1

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When I read about the new market opening up in the old Fulton Fish Market stalls every weekend this summer, I excited. Visions of weekly versions of the New Amsterdam Market danced in my head.

Saturday morning, Tammi and I toiled in the garden for a few hours before heading into Manhattan. The Seaport was to be our first stop. Sadly, this is as far as we got. I couldn't bring myself to wade through the ridiculous crowd of tourists to get to what I'd been warned by Eric was a fairly underwhelming display.

Some time this summer I do want to check out this market as well as the new Water Taxi Beach, so stay tuned...

May 20, 2009

Food Finds: Ackee

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Ackee is the national fruit of Jamaica.
The flesh of the fruit is thick and reminds me of a firmer scrambled egg. It's typically served sauteed with cod, called saltfish in the 'old country,' along with onions and peppers.

I never had a lot of it when I was growing up, but these days I associate it with visits to see the family over the holidays.

One of these days, I'll spend some time cooking my ancestral foods and maybe I'll give this a try.

May 18, 2009

Butchery: The Halal Market

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When I want to buy a leg of lamb for a party, I typically go to one of the halal markets down on Atlantic Avenue. I prefer it mostly for the ephemeral reason that it just seems a little more authentic. But I also like it because it's not nearly as expensive as the shrink-wrapped New Zealand lamb that I find in my local Foodtown. And it's fresher too.

It doesn't hurt that the place I usually go to is right next to The Brazen Head. Coincidentally, of course.

It's also just down the block from Sahadi's, which is one of the best spice markets in the city. That's a good thing too, as this market is always a little barren. There's a row of legs on display like this and shoulders and other cuts in the walk-in in the back. Besides that, there are boxes of grains and seasonings, but otherwise it's an empty space.

Halal Meat Market
232 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn,
(718) 625-2781

May 16, 2009

Candied Bacon = Glorious

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Last weekend Tammi and I took my mom out for brunch at The General Greene. I have nothing new to say since our last visit except this: Candied Bacon is Glorious.

I don't know what they 'candy' it with, but it's not a hard glaze, as I imagined when I encouraged my sister to order it. Instead it is just like regular, thick, juicy, meaty, thick-sliced, wonderful bacon, but it's got a honey-like coating across it.

May 15, 2009

Finally! Provisions' Lamb Bacon

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After many failed attempts, I finally got my hands on this slab of lamb bacon from Provisions. Even better, they are now curing more on a regular basis so getting another batch won't take nearly so long.

First observation: As you can see here, it's very fatty. There's more meat in there that the sliver visible in this picture, but the fat is prominent.

My first experiment was to cut strips and wrap them in dates. I love bacon wrapped dates and I figured the combination of North African/Middle Eastern ingredients would go together well.

This wasn't as successful as I'd have liked. As my first try cooking the bacon, I realized afterward that I had no idea how crispy the bacon cooked on its own. When I cooked it more lightly, it was a little too gummy and was difficult to cut through with your teeth. When I left it to cook longer, it crisped up too much and had a burnt, gamy flavor that wasn't so great.

There is probably a perfect medium in there somewhere, but I didn't want to waste my entire slab trying this out, so I shelved that idea.


My second, more successful idea after the jump...

Continue reading "Finally! Provisions' Lamb Bacon" »

Bike Month

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I haven't been on my bike in a few months but May is Bike Month and has dozens of events around New York for those on two wheels to take advantage of. Those of us too chicken to go out in the crap weather will have to keep wishing for a drier end of the month.

And for those wondering, the Tour de Brooklyn is on Sunday, June 7th.

May 14, 2009

Butchery: Appleman Takes Rising Star Award At The Beards

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This is a tenuous link to the butchery thread, but I wanted an excuse to use this photo. Nate Appleman, one of the faces of the Butchery trend on the west coast received the Rising Star Chef at last week's 2009 James Beard Awards. I've been a fan of Appleman ever since taking his class at Astor and trying his food at A16.

May 12, 2009

Gardening Time

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With the spring weather finally becoming bearable, Tammi and I have finally taken on taming our backyard. She's got various flowers that she wants to plant and I've been eying veggies and herbs, like this basil plant I caught at the farmers market last weekend. So far, I've planted oregano, lemon thyme, rosemary and a selection of various hot peppers.

In years past, I gardened heavily. My old apartment had full sun and my was garden full of tomatoes, peppers, squash, and herbs galore. I've got some feeling around to do to figure out what will work out in this yard, which is much more heavily shaded.

May 11, 2009

Published: Queens Museum International

Back of the 7 Train

Self-Promotion: I just received a copy of the catalogue from Queens International 4, the exhibit the QMA hosted earlier this year. In it is the above photo, credited to yours truly. My first paid print image.

Woo!

May 10, 2009

The Great Outdoors

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Last weekend, the Artbreak Gallery opened "The Great Outdoors," a show of work by area graffiti artists using doors as a canvas. The show was curated by Flickr friends Luna Park and Billi Kid.

I had a great time at the opening and hope to make a trip back before the show closes. Photos are posted on Flickr, like usual.

The Great Outdoors, May 2 - 29 2009:
ArtBreak Gallery
195 Grand Street, 2nd Floor
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Soggy Spring

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Contrary to the rhyme, this year's April Showers made way for May downpours. According to Gothamist, we got within an inch of the monthly average rainfall for May in the first 7 days of the month. Since then, our rain has kept coming, but has conveniently shifted to an after hours schedule, holding out until late night before initiating torrential rains and earthshaking thunderstorms.

The weather has wrought havoc on the traditional pastime of surveying the various outdoor gardens around the city, but rest assured, it's coming. In the meantime, stay dry.

May 5, 2009

Lunch: Loreley

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After having the katsu curry at Go Go, I was thinking about the German roots of what's essentially Japanese shnitzel. The next day, I ended up on the Lower East Side and I took the opportunity to examine the source materials at Loreley, a German restaurant and beergarden.

Loreley is one of my new favorite places to go in the afternoon in LES. I hear the scene is godawful after work, but before that, it's a quiet, uncrowded spot to enjoy some sausage, shnitzel or strudel.

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It's also a great spot to sample some great German beers that you don't often come across. The focus at Loreley is on the Koln region, its food and its fine light bodied beer, kolsh. More like a traditional pilsner than anything we fine in the US, kolsh is light and sweet, but with a bite of hops that provides a zen-like balance.

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Loreley Restaurant & Biergarten
7 Rivington Street New York, NY 10002
Lower East Side
Between Bowery and Chrystie Street
phone 212 253 7077

May 4, 2009

Lunch: Go Go Curry

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I love Go Go Curry. It's the perfect convergence of quirky Japanese culture and yummy Japanese curry.

Japanese curry is an interesting thing. It's certainly not like the Jamaican curry I grew up on. It's thick and muddy, almost like a chili, spicy and full bodied.

Go Go specializes in serving this curry gravy over plates of rice and then adding toppings that are the centerpiece of the meal. Chicken, pork, shrimp, and any number of other options including boiled eggs or natto, fermented soybeans are offered.

I chose katsu, pork cutlets which are pounded thin then breaded and fried, a preparation borrowed from the Germans, who call it schnitzel. The difference is the sweet sauce that accompanies katsu, here drizzled on top of the pork. It's awesome because there's so much going on here: The flavors of the sweet, the spicy and the porky compete with the textures of the crunchy breading, the tender meat and the slight mush of curry sodden rice.

Then there's the quirk. The entire theme of the restaurant revolves around Hideki Matsui of the New York Yankees, formerly of the Yamiuri Giants. The name Go Go is Japanese for 55, Matsui's number. Any day after he hits a home run, anyone who comes in gets a free topping.

I have no idea what baseball and curry have to do with one another, but as I've seen in Tokyo, it's more than just a game.

For a peek at all of the options, here's the awesome plastic display in the window:
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May 2, 2009

Brunch: The General Greene

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Tammi and I finally went to The General Greene last weekend, a few months after the opening hoopla died down. Sunday the temperature broke 90 degrees, which suited me just fine after a soggy and cold April. Our friend Abbey met up with us there and we lingered for a good couple hours over drinks and brunch in the shade.

I had the Chicken Confit Skillet, above, which was excellent. Served in the cute cast iron skillet that it's cooked in, it was brunchy due to the three eggs dropped on top and cooked into a sort of casserole along with some spinach. It's an awesome variation on the cocotte concept that I've been fascinated by for some time.

The chicken was moist and tender and may have inspired me to start up a couple confit projects at home. The eggs were cooked through and enveloped the other components of the dish. I'm partial to softer yolks, so if I were to try this, I might leave it in the oven/broiler for a minute or two less. And the sprinkling of a few crystals of sea salt brought it all together.

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In an interesting bit of turnabout, Tammi chose the less breakfasty dish of a grilled sandwich, which would usually have been my choice. It looked very good, but it was late in the day and I hadn't eaten a bite of anything all day. I needed something more substantial.

The food and service were wonderful and now that the crowd seems more reasonable than early reports suggested, I am all about going back. Interestingly, I find myself unsure of which meal I want to return for first, dinner or brunch. The brunch menu stocked a number of other tasty looking skillets and sandwiches that looks truly inspired.

The General Greene
229 Dekalb Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11205
(718) 222-1510‎

May 1, 2009

Lunch: Rafiqi's

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A couple weeks ago, when the weather first improved from the dreary rain mess of April, the hordes of office workers, myself included, flocked outdoors. Unfortunately, we all got in each other's way. The line for my usual curry cart was jammed.

I wandered around a bit looking for alternative curry suppliers and found Rafiqi's on Park and 32nd Street. I've often heard about the wonders of Rafiqi's, a chain of curry carts around the city which has blog reviews posted on the side of the cart.

The first noticeable difference was how quickly the line went. With 3-4 guys in the cart, they were churning out meals like a machine. Where I'd usually have to wait 15 minutes for my regular spot, I was in and out of line in 5 minutes.

The lamb, which had already been charred and was piled up on the skillet, was excellent. I found the chicken lacking, mostly because it wasn't actually curried. It was fine, certainly juicy, but it didn't hit the curry spot I was really looking for.

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Rafiqi's also offers a much bigger array toppings and additions than I've ever seen before at a curry cart. There was corn and cilantro and olives among other things. I didn't try too much this time around, but I could see myself giving Rafiqi's another go if old E&G Pyramid is a bit too overloaded.

Rafiqi's
Park Avenue South & 32nd Street

Butchery: Jeffrey's Meat Market

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If there's anyone on board with the whole 'Butcher as Rockstar' meme that I've been writing about, it's Jeffrey Ruhalter, proprietor of Jeffrey's Meat Market in the Essex Street Market. He's a self-described "RFB," Real Fucking Butcher, and a fourth generation one at that.

Passing by his shop, you're going to know who he is immediately. Every surface that is not displaying meat or prices is dedicated to Jeffrey: His name is in neon lights and his image reproduced a dozen times over in portraits and caricatures.

The only time I've actually shopped at Jeffrey's, I was a little put off by his outsized personality. I ordered a couple pounds of beef cut up in chunks. He immediately inquired further about what I wanted to use it for. When I said chili, he insisted that the meat must be ground. He'd use a course die, so the pieces would be big and thick. This is when I got the "RFB" spiel and the guarantee that it would be better his way.

I can't argue with results. The chili came out very well and the meat was just right.

I've recently read that Jeffrey has jumped on the butchering class bandwagon, which I can totally see. His classes go beyond the pig and lamb that Mylan has done at Brooklyn Kitchen and also has a class all about fowl, including game birds.

Jeffrey's Meat Market
Essex Street Market
120 Essex Street (at Delancey Street)
New York, NY 10002


April 28, 2009

Taco Trucks: Can You Hear Me Now? The Oreja Taco Can.

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I've already mentioned my fondness for the taco truck. What's even better are the trucks that have the crazy off cuts that you don't find often. In this case, it's the truck in front of the basketball courts at West 4th Street.

That's where I bought this exotic delight topped with orejas, pig ears. I've been all about cartilage lately. The soft crunch in every bite is amazingly satisfying. On top of that, ears have unctuous, lip-smacking skin wrapped around which adds another layer of texture to the experience.

It's not for everyone, but I certainly love it.

April 27, 2009

Kyochon Still Under Construction

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In the last week, Midtown Lunch reported the news that the KoreaTown announced Kyochon will not be opening for another couple months.

Today I peeked in the door and what I saw pretty much confirms that. Here are a few pics of the demolition still in progress:

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April 26, 2009

That New Train Smell

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Good signs from the MTA are few and far between, so I'm going to hope that this is one of them. A couple weeks ago, while standing on the platform at Jay Street, this brand-spanking new train parked at the Manhattan-bound A/C track for a few minutes.

It was pristine. The bench seats were still covered in plastic and the cars looked unsullied by the hazings of rush hour.

Now, this was the only sign I've seen of such a thing on my line, but here's hoping...

April 8, 2009

In The Sticks

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Co-op City, seen here, is always my marker when I'm entering or exiting the civilized world from the hinterlands. I'll be up in Connecticut for work for a couple days. Back in a bit.

::c::

April 6, 2009

Butchery: Sagal Meat Market

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I first noticed Sagal on Broadway in Bushwick while driving through the area heading to Williamsburg. One of my friends saw it first: The giant sign in Spanish that read, "Order Your Lechon for the Holidays!" This was in November, a few weeks before the wedding, but it prompted him to ask if I was roasting another pig for the holiday party. A month later, I was in the store picking up my piglet, the lovely specimen you see here.

Sagal is not like the other butcher shops that have been highlighted of late. It's old school. It's not hipsterfied, and not looking to do interesting shit. There's no intellectual curiosity involved in making the cuts. There's no playing with food.

I love playing with food, but I really appreciate the straight ahead approach of an old-style shop that's got all the "old country" cuts. I'm a bit of an oddity there. In my visits, I'm usually the youngest customer in the shop, standing in line behind a row of older women, picking up meat to cook the way they've been cooking it for generations. When I ordered the suckling pig on my first visit, one of the butchers dubbed me "Señor Lechon" presuming I wouldn't understand him. I laughed and another butcher nudged him.

One major advantage over the hip butcher shops is that Sagal has some real bargains, including a dozen varieties of family packs, starting at $30 going up to $100, which can get you a collection of chickens, chops, steaks and guts totaling over 40 pounds.

I recently discovered that a new Sagal is in Bed-Stuy, on Fulton, near Nostrand Avenue. I checked it out this past weekend and will be posting about that pretty soon.

April 5, 2009

2 Many Artists: Photos Posted

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Last night, Tammi and I checked out the opening for 2 Many Artists, which I mentioned yesterday. The show is a really interesting collection of collage work, piecing together the oddest assortment of images to make larger constructions.

There are a lot of Superhero constructions, which are particularly familiar to me. I found it interesting to see so many American icons being reconstructed by a pair of British artists.

As exciting as the art to me was the DJ of the night, Prince Paul. I was completely starstruck standing mere feet away from the mind responsible for 3 Feet High and Rising among many many other classics. After walking through the space a few times and examining every piece, I hung around just so I could keep listening to the tunes he was spinning. I was especially excited to hear "The Originators," by Jay-Z and Jaz from way before Reasonable Doubt. Jay-Z used the fast flow of the early 90's sounding more like the Fu-Shnickens that the rhymer we know today. I'd heard of the song, but never actual;ly heard it myself. I could have stayed there for another several hours just hearing him spin.

The show is on until May 2nd. Photos are posted on Flickr.

Work To Do: Posted Pics

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Last week, I finally made it to the Work To Do show at The Combine in SoHo. The experience was overwhelming. Every corner, nook and crevice of the space was used to display some kind of art.

The show is open until April 17th, so I'm definitely going to try to check it out again. I'm sure I'll see a million pieces I missed the first time around.

Photos posted here.

April 4, 2009

Tonight: Joe Black and Miss Bugs at Brooklynite Gallery

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Tonight the Brooklynite Gallery opens 2 Many Artists, displaying work by British artists Joe Black and Miss Bugs.

As usual, the abandoned storefronts around the corner from my house have become the palette for the visiting artists. Above is a paste up collage portrait of Salvador Dali by Joe Black. And this is Miss Bugs...

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The opening is tonight at 7pm until 9pm and Prince Paul will be DJing.

Brooklynite Gallery
334 Malcolm X Blvd. off Bainbridge St.
A to Utica Ave.
B46 to Decatur St.

April 1, 2009

Motorino

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Motorino is not like the myriad brick oven pizza spots around New York. Instead of the crisp, thin-crusted delights I've known and loved for years, they serve up what I've since heard described as West Coast-style Pizza. The voluptuous crust bulges with a body that is light and fluffy. The texture is more like Indian Naan than any Pizza crust to be found in New York.

My first Motorino pizza was the Sopressata Picante. It was amazing. Besides the wonderful crust, the chili-tomato sauce was a shock, more like a moderately spicy salsa than any typical pizza sauce. The meat was cut into small, chewy wedges instead of the usual thin slices. With each bite, I felt as well as tasted the pieces of spiced charcuterie.

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If I had any complaint, it was the structural integrity of the slice. With such a soft crust, it tended to flop down beneath the meat and sauce, spilling its contents before making it to my mouth. I'd advise folding the slice to get around this.

On my second visit, I went with a less meaty option, the Brussels Sprouts & Speck:

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The leaves of the sprouts blistered and charred along with patches of crust and the thin edges of the speck. Prominent in the layers of flavors was the pungent grated parmesan that laid in the crevices throughout the pizza.

The biggest issue with Motorino is that they still lack a liquor license, so you'll have to wash down your meal with a tangy Italian orange soda. Up until a week or two ago, they were BYOB, but the idiots at the State Liquor Authority have begun cracking down, despite the fact that it's their needless bureaucracy that's stopping them from selling their own booze.

Either way, I'll be back, but one day I hope to have a nice glass of wine with it.

March 30, 2009

Still Have Work To Do

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When planning to attend last week's opening for Work To Do, the Royce Bannon-curated show at The Combine, I didn't anticipate the major difference between at Brooklyn show and a SoHo show.

Sadly this was as close as I got to the opening. I've only been to bk shows and just a few at that, so I had no idea there would be a guestlists with a large man keeping the riffraff out. On a rainy day, I hadn't the patience to wait outside to try to get in.

The show is up for a couple weeks, so I'll head down one day to check
it out soon.

Update: In the meantime, check out the pics in the Work To Do Pool on Flickr.

March 26, 2009

Bar Olivino

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This wine bar on Fulton Street in Clinton Hill initially seems redundant so close to Stonehome, not 10 blocks away. But with all its success, Stonehome is much more of a restaurant these days than a bar and can be hard to get into sometimes. It also doesn't keep late night bar hours, frustrating the urge for that last glass or two before calling it a night.

Conversely, Bar Olivino, the small drinking outlet of the Olivino wine shop is all bar.

I love the concept, which is basically a Comptoir: A small space, a convivial atmosphere, a couple meat and cheese snacks and most importantly wine. It's certainly small, the place could just barely fit two dozen customers. The snacks are minimal and the atmosphere is fun, whether mellow and quiet on a Sunday evening or festive and hopping as it was on a recent visit with Tammi. When the party is going, the windows fog up and wine flows like water.

At one end of the bar or another, you'll usually find Katrine, the proprietress bending elbows with friends or just quietly enjoying the revelry.

My biggest difficulty at the bar is often with the wine selection. Having shopped at both Olivino branches for some time, I always expect to see more familiar wine available on the menu, but it's never there.

In particular, I'm often lured into the Cotes du Rhone, which is a remarkably cheap, at $5 a glass. It's not a great wine, but Rhones are the familiar region for me, so I'll often order it and be disappointed.

I talked to Katrine about it one night, finally asking her why she doesn't have more of the selection she stocks in the shop. Her response was pretty interesting. She purposely excluded what she calls 'the big 10' grapes, sticking with more obscure wines and a few blends. It told me a bit about myself. I always think of myself as a wanting to try new things, but my difficulties with the wine list at Bar Olivino resulted from a tendency to stick with the familiar varietals instead of exploring the breadth of the wines available.

It's an interesting challenge and one that I readily accept. On that same visit, I discovered that they stock a Pineau de Charentes, a dessert wine that I've been curious about for some time. Last year, our neighbor gave us a bottle of it that remained unopened until recently. It's quite rare in The States, so I was surprised to see it here. This is the benefit of having a wine list that explores new and interesting flavors. Thinking about it this way, I'm pretty excited to go back with a new perspective on their list.

Late Night: The Shwarma

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Showing a bare modicum of discretion, I'm going to call this feature 'Late Night.' This category could very reasonably be called 'Drunk Food,' given that while always good, most of the dishes I expect to discuss are 100 times better after an evening of revelry. I've already covered White Castle and the Taco Truck (as well as other tacos),

The Shwarma, also known as the Doner Kebab to the Turks and sharing more similarities than differences with the Greek Gyro is an internationally recognized celebrity in the world of late night fare. In Mexico, they righteously substitute pork for lamb in the al pastor taco. In Paris, we passed a dozen spits roasting layer upon layer of lamb around the corner from the music row where we stayed.

The massive structure of meat is constructed with horizontal columns of fat which melt down, basting all the meat below. But, I expect I'm not telling you anything new. You've either seen these 'meat logs' around town in one way or the other and either fled in disgust or ran gleefully towards it.

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This particular Shwarma was served up from my go to place on MacDougal near Bleeker in The Village, Yatagan. It's not nearly the only one in the neighborhood. And, while I love it, it's not the best I've ever had, it now has a long-standing sentimental value just for being associated with so many of the late nights I've had through the years.


Yatagan Kebab House
104 MacDougal Street
Greenwich Village

March 25, 2009

Curing: Pancetta

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Two weeks ago, I picked up a pack of Pork Belly from HMart without knowing what I was going to do with it. I had planned on cooking it, but then realized that my schedule was suddenly packed. Instead of throwing it in the freezer and forgetting about it, I decided it was time for another cure. After the success of the guanciale, I wanted something sort of similar. Like the guanciale, pancetta has some of the same seasonings, cures for about a week and hangs and ages for another week.

To see how I turned that into this:
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follow the jump...

Continue reading "Curing: Pancetta" »

Lunch: Tina's Cuban Pork

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I've been eating at Tina's since it opened as Sophie's before the schism. Since the beginning, the pernil or slow roasted pork has been central to my meals there. I know, it's shocking. I used to get the Cuban, but they pre-make them, which just doesn't seem quite as fresh, although it's clearly quicker during the lunch rush. So I just go to a pernil sandwich with whichever combination of toppings that strike my fancy on any given day, these generally include cheese and raw or sauteed onions.

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Occasionally, I'll want something more substantial and have a whole meal, like this Pernil with rice and beans. This particular order defeated me, leaving me stuffed with quite a bit left over.

The pork is juicy and flavorful. Though it lacks the citrus flavor you get at Cafe Habana/Habana Outpost, given that neither of them are available in midtown, I'll take what I can get.

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Much more importantly is a recent addition to the offerings that I just discovered this on my last visitat Tina's: chicharrones. Chunks of crisp fried pork skin are available in large trays on the counter at Tina's. Ask for some and you'll get a bag and the opportunity to take as many chicharrones as you can fit. I crushed them up and sprinkled them over my meal, adding the random crunch to each bite. Glorious.

I'm not sure if Tina's is offering the 'Pernil with a Twist' Midtown Lunch special, but I'm much more interested in a 'Pernil with a Crunch' option.

March 24, 2009

Lunch in the Hood: Peaches

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Last week, I had lunch at Peaches for the first time. I was inspired after a post I saw on TONY's Feed Blog that mentioned a couple sandwich specials on the lunch menu that they called some of the best in the city. This one is among them: A Black Angus Meatloaf sandwich. Served on a roll with a pile of goopy melted cheese and caramelized onions, it's fantastic.

I hope that this stays on the menu. They usually stock a Turkey Meatloaf sandwich, that my eyes gloss over just out of principle. This sandwich was good enough to motivate me to keep coming back. Hopefully when I do, it'll still be there.

March 23, 2009

Lunch: Little Italy Pizza

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This is the Marinara Mozzarella Pizza from Little Italy Pizza a block away from my job. It's no bargain at $3.50 a slice, but it's one of my favorite slices in New York, so I end up here almost every week.

Constructed counter-intuitively with thick slices of cheese directly on top of the crust then topped with dollops of sauce which leave thick puddles of sweet tomato and shredded basil on every slice.

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For all the wonders of the topping, the crust adds a dimension lacking in most regular slices: The inner layer is soft and chewy, complementing the slight resistance in each bite of the firm cheese. By contrast, the bottom layer is crisp and slightly charred, dotted with sprinkles of breadcrumbs all along it.

The sign says Little Italy Pizza, but it doesn't appear to be at all related to the much better known Little Italy on Vanderbuilt near GCT. Looking it up on Google Maps, the closest hit I get is "Big George Pizza," with an address on the corner, 2 doors down from the actual space. Whatever the pedigree, they must be doing something right given the recent expansion into the tobacco shop next door. That's a good thing

Little Italy Pizza
33rd Street between 5th and Madison.

Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tour

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I climbed down the manhole fighting many anxieties and my better judgment. Thankfully, I didn't have a lot of time to consider it as there were dozens of others behind me waiting to get down there too.

This was the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel Tour, which has recently begun again after a long hiatus. Despite my fears of falling into the depths below, I've really wanted to take this tour for a long time.

The tunnel itself is the oldest known subway tunnel. 45 feet below street level, it served the Long Island Railroad in it's first incarnation as a way to ferry goods to and from New York Harbor to the Long Island Sound. The Sound was the gateway to New England and, more importantly, the shipping lanes to Europe that started in Boston.

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Along with Eric & Marni, Tammi and I took the 2 hour tour led by Bob Diamond. Diamond discovered the tunnel in the early 80's after it had been hidden for nearly a century. He tells a juicy story of history, politics and corruption, Brooklyn-stlye about how the tunnel was built, hidden and became the source of lore for decades afterward.

There have been many unsubstantiated plans through the years for the tunnel, so it's unclear what, if anything is going to be done with this historic landmark, but until something actually develops, it's great to be able to walk deep into Brooklyn's history.

The tours book up quickly, so check the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association's website for dates and make a reservation in advance. The next available tour is on April 19th.

March 20, 2009

Spring in Midtown

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Despite the snowfall this morning, today is the first day of Spring. Wednesday we got a preview of the season with highs around 60. My fellow Midtown denizens and I rushed out and took advantage of the opportunity to spend some time in the sun for lunch.

That evening, Tammi and I grabbed a round at Mé bar, which was full about 15 minutes after this shot was taken.

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Of couse, the next day we got rained on, a preview of April showers no doubt. Regardless, we'll ake what we can get.

DUMBO: Night Photography Workshop

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Sunday I attended a workshop sponsored by Adorama on Night Photography. After a couple hours of discussing techniques and settings demonstrated in a gallery show, we went into Brooklyn Bridge Park and shot for a few hours.

I love shooting in DUMBO for the graffiti and the glimpses of old Brooklyn: cobblestones and trolley tracks peeking through cracked pavement. Sadly, most of the rest of the folks in the class were fascinated by the view of the skyline, the river traffic and the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. The bridges are great, but entirely overdone, so I sought out other subjects, like this couple that was sat taking in the view while surrounded by a mob of tripodded camera-slingers.

It was a good experience and I learned a fair amount about shooting in the dark, both technically and stylistically. My photos from the shoot are posted on Flickr.

March 17, 2009

Opening: Work To Do

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Heads Up: On March 26th, The Combine (music plays) is opening at 112 Greene Street in SoHo. The space is going to be used for events and such, but in a nod to its history as an art space, it's kicking off its new existence with an art show.

Royce Bannon is curating a show called "Work To Do" which riffs on the themes of collective work and responsibility President Obama made the crux of his inaugural address. The event began as a vehicle for the members of ELC, the Endless Love Crew but quickly expanded beyond that.

The advance shots I've seen on Luna Park's Flickr Stream, Martha Cooper's Blog and on Brooklyn Street Art all look amazing. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Work To Do
The Combine, 112 Green Street. SoHo.
Opens March 26th.

March 16, 2009

Markets: HMart

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HMart is so ridiculously convenient to my office that I would probably love it just for being there even if it wasn't such an excellent source for otherwise obscure or hard to find ingredients.

Right in the middle of the KTown strip, stopping there on the way home takes me all of a block out of my way.

Marbled Short Ribs

Add to that the fact that I can get beef short ribs, pork belly, udon noodles and a vast array of Asian spices and condiments, and I'm amazed I'm not there every day.

H Mart NYC
25 W 32nd St # 1
New York, NY 10001
(212) 695-3283

Lunch: The Curry Cart

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There are few things I miss from my days of working in and around Times Square, but the street food definitely ranks up there. Unlike most of Midtown, the Murray Hill/Herald Square/Empire State Building area has a pathetically light Street Food population. When I read Midtown Lunch's pieces on carts and trucks serving all manner of food from Middle Eastern to Jamaican to Korean, I pine for Midtown North in a way I never really thought possible. Not that being below 23rd Street wouldn't be vastly better in all regards, but it's relative.

Besides a couple hot dog carts with pretzels and shish kababs, this cart, on the corner of 32nd and 5th Avenue is the only consistently available vendor of street meat. It's sad. But he's good and always has a decent crowd, so I'm sure he's not going anywhere any time soon. Until I stood there last week taking pictures while I waited in line, I had never noticed a name on the cart. Apparently it's E&G Pyramid Halal Cart.

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This is my usual: Chicken curry and lamb on yellow rice, topped with hot sauce and white sauce. Love it.

On the side he throws in some iceberg and a couple tomato chunks along with some sauteed cabbage, which is pretty tasty. But the main event is the meat. The chicken is season with a great curry mixture that I've tried and failed to replicate at home. It's spicy, but not over the top. The lamb is pre-cooked gyro meat, but he sears it on the griddle until it's got a great crispy char on the outside that adds depth to the blend of flavors and textures.

When I want something smaller, I just have the chicken wrapped on a pita. The mixtures of the sauces and the curry soak into the thick walls of the pita and become a medium for the combined flavors.

So, while I wish there was a bigger variety of street food in the area, at least part of that desire is so that I'd have a shorter wait to come back to this one.

March 15, 2009

Guanciale

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I read a blog post the other day claiming that Cheek may be the new Belly. I could see that. It's fatty and streaked with lovely, tender meat. And it cures wonderfully.

This lovely piece of porky goodness is pork cheek I picked up at Marlowe & Daughters. Following Ruhlman's recipe, I cured it for a few days and then let it hang in the basement wrapped in cheese cloth for a few weeks. When it came out, it looked like this:

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Sliced thin and sauteed like bacon, it's a little fattier than I want. So I thought about using it as a bacon substitute for recipes that call for slab bacon or pancetta.

While chatting with Eric the other day he suggested using it in a pasta sauce. After the jump, my notes on putting it together.

Continue reading "Guanciale" »

March 12, 2009

Finding the Cure

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This is a pork jowl, cured and aged to become guanciale. It's one of the many meats I've cured in the last several months. I keep mentioning all the curing and aging of meat I've been up to lately in passing without going into nearly enough detail. My apologies.

A little over a year ago, Eric bought me what may be my most interesting cookbook ever: Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman. I have to admit that at first I was a little put off by the necessity of special ingredients to avoid botulism, but ultimately the arcana required appeals to my particular strain of geek. Even before I was willing or able to make anything in the book, the theory of the concepts behind it had me reading it like a novel.

Once I finally got past my initial uneasiness, I made the following:

Guanciale
Pork Belly Confit
Pork Rillettes
Lardo
Bacon
Fatback
Pancetta

...and I've got a ham hanging until summer. We'll have to see how that one works out.

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This is a piece of cured belly just before I smoked it. Bacon and variations thereof have been the most common items I've made from Charcuterie. Of the bacons I've made, some were home smoked over hickory sawdust and lump charcoal, while others were soaked in a molasses mixture resulting in a sweet meat to accompany breakfast.

Others, like pancetta, salt pork and guanciale follow more of less the same directions, with adjustments in the cut of meat or the salts and spices used. They also tend to age longer, whether in the cure or not.

As I'm writing up more about the meat markets I've been going to, I've been neglecting where all that meat is going. I'll be putting a bit more effort into documenting this further, including an upcoming post on what I did with the guanciale that should be up in a couple days.

The MTA's March Madness

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I don't think I'm going to lose any friends by calling the MTA a bunch of bastards. I'm not the first and I won't be the last to speak ill of the folks running Transit, so I'll minimize my invective.

For the entire month of March, the A Train is being replaced by shuttle service for over 3 miles of its route in Brooklyn. From Jay Street to Utica Avenue. Practically, this means that trying to get anywhere downtown or into Manhattan is going to be a clusterfuck for another 4 weekends. They've done this before and it has been profoundly unpleasant.

The upshot of this for me is that these are 'Williamsburg' weekends, as heading in that direction by bus or bike is a far better experience than even attempting to navigate the foolishness on Fulton Street.

Butchery: Marlow & Daughter

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If any one person has brought Butchery the attention it deserves, it's Tom Mylan. He's certainly who got me interested in it. About a year ago, it was his class at Brooklyn Kitchen that fascinated me with the subject.

Since his classes began, he's been the face of local DIY butchery scene. Between his blogs and elsewhere his story is all over the internet and elsewhere, so I'm not going to tell it again. Suffice it to say that he knows his damn meat. I was psyched when I heard he was finally going to be selling his bloody wares to the public at Marlow & Daughters. If for no other reason than to be able to show up from time to time and talk meat and cool things to do with weird cuts.

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The shop is glorious. Where else are you going to find a cow's heart placed front and center on display and labeled, "Captain Beefheart?" I've never actually tried to cook or eat heart, but if I did - and wanted to feed a dozen people with it - I'd probably get it from here.

The first time I went, I got into a long discussion with Brett, another Marlowe butcher, about a confit I wanted to make. He was so excited about it that he tossed in a a pork tongue and tail to add to the pot.

Last month, I bought a deeply smoky link of andouille sausage that I used in chicken and rice. I'm told by Scott of the Shameless Carnivore that Tom uses the smokers at Char #4 on Smith Street to make these. Last I heard, Char's business has been so good that they haven't been able to spare the smoker space, so Tom's looking for an alternative.

I also bought a slab of fatback and a pork cheek that are hanging in my basement transforming into Lardo and Guanciale, respectively. More on that to come.

Going back to what I love about Provisions, the exploratory spirit of Marlowe & Daughters is as much at attraction as the meat itself.

As I mentioned before, the prices here can be prohibitive. The pork belly I cured to make bacon cost $12 a pound. There's no way I could afford to buy several pounds of this. But it's quality meat and totally worth it to splurge from time to time, depending on what you're doing. Hell, the conversation you can have with Tom or Brett can be worth the extra overhead.

Marlow & Daughters‎
95 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 388-5700

March 11, 2009

Lunch: By Mandoo, Denied

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Weeks ago, I went to a dumpling party at Eric and Marni's. It reminded me that I had yet to partake in one particular treat in Koreatown, Mandoo, a dumpling and noodle house where the food is prepared fresh in the window for all to see. I've been passing it for some time, but always put off by the rather intimidating line that often stretches out the door.

Over and over since then, I have tried to pop in before the lunch rush, to no avail. I've avoided the option of calling in an order largely because it would require me to eat them at my desk, when I want to enjoy them uninterrupted by work-related nonsense. I hold onto it as my last ditch attempt. More to come...

March 10, 2009

Butcher: Coney Closure

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I try not to write posts that are just links to other things on the internet, but I'd be remiss in my Butchery-reporting duties if I didn't make note of the closure of Major Prime Meat Market out in Coney Island a week or so ago. I've never been, but reading about it, this is the sort of place that we need more of. Hopefully, the recent revival of the butchering arts will bring back more of these back to the neighborhoods of our cities.

Before they closed up, Gothamist interviewed Jimmy Prince about hanging up his cleavers.

March 6, 2009

Murder Burgers

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Tammi and I share the guiltiest of guilty pleasures: White Castle burgers. These usually end up as our late night gorge after an evening of imbibing. Much like the Taco Truck I exalted recently, a sack of 10 cheeseburgers between the two of us profoundly hits the spot at 1am on a