Sunday, March 28, 2010

Brooklyn Brewery Brofest

So last Saturday I went into NYC to meet up with my brothers for a serious Brofest(with a capital B). Reuben, David, Elliott, Reuben's roommate Corbin and I hopped onto the L to Brooklyn. By sheer luck and happenstance everything we wanted to do in Brooklyn seemed to be within 4 blocks of wherever we were... so as far as I know Brooklyn is less than a square mile.

We went to brunch at some little latin type place. I think Elliott won the best meal award with the pernil with eggs any style... I wish I liked eggs so I could eat it. Everybody elses food was pretty darn good though. We were sitting in an open window and some guy drove by twice singing something awful at the top of his lungs. It was hilarious but who drives through the same intersection from the same direction twice in ten minutes?

The Brooklyn Brewery was about three blocks from lunch. We all missed the brew tour since it seems to just be an excuse for them to have a bar serving their own beers. $20 gets you 6 tokens and each token can be traded in for a beer. We managed to get a picnic table which was nice so we could sit and enjoy ourselves. Seating was prime real estate in that place. Utz potato chips for a dollar a bag... that was a damn good deal. I'm not sure if Elliott managed to find anything he liked but maybe the Pennant Ale worked for him. We blew his last tokens on a glass of Brooklyn #1 that came in a Brooklyn Brewery glass. For 3 tokens I really would have thought they'd give you the whole bottle, but I guess there is some reason they can't. I don't think that glass ended up making it home with Reuben or anybody else.

Our next stop was Barcade. On the way I made a friend. His name was Naranjito. He was a pro athlete. Pops would have loved this guy. Naranjito could roll straight from one person to another. He was also an orange. Reuben apparently had something against him and rolled him a good two blocks down the street. As I said, pro. Barcade was a lot of fun, classic arcade games, good beer selection, and jerkey sold at the bar. Contra, robotron, and asteroid, good times.

We were only a couple of blocks away from some crazy delicious BBQ place and I have no idea what the name of the place was. This place has 3 long picnic tables inside and 5 or 6 outside. No seating arrangements, everybody fends for themself. At the same time that you're trying to find a table you have to arrange getting your food which takes quite a bit of time as well. We split into 3 elite teams. Reuben and David were tasked to get the grub. I got a gallon of beer (with 5 mason jars to drink from) and arranged to sit with strangers to get their table once they left. Elliott and Corbin were in charge of holding down the fence and making sure it didn't go anywhere.

So the BBQ was amazing. They didn't have any ribs or lamb shank left but the brisket has resurrected my hope of learning to make real BBQ. I found the beans to be a bit lacking but Reuben swears by them. I've been craving more barbecue ever since... I see a trip to Bobby Q's in Westport in my near future, who's with me?

Monday, March 22, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Dinner at the Schoolhouse!

So last Wednesday Megan and I went to dinner at the Schoolhouse restaurant in Wilton, CT. Oh my god was this place amazing. This was a gift from my father and step-mother to Megan and I. It turns out that we were the only people to be signed up for the St. Patrick's Day special dinner and I am sure that it's because of the holiday and no fault of the restaurants.

Dinner was a five course meal that you had two options to decide between for each course. Chef Tim LaBant was super accommodating as far as handling Megan's food allergies and he was extremely nice to talk to when he came out to speak with us after the fourth course. For each course (aside from dessert) I had whichever option Megan did not choose. She decided to do the wine pairing with each course while I had the beers. Without further ado, here's the menu:

First Course

Lola duck hash with a sunny side egg (We skipped the egg, I think this was Megan's favorite)
Cauliflower and parmesan soup with a sea scallop, hazelnuts, and chives

Second Course

Beet ravioli with Prosciutto, watercress and pistachios (This may have been my favorite surprisingly!)
Ricotta gnocchi with jabugo ham, tomato jam, and scallion soubise

Third Course

Bronzini with broccoli rabe, potato rosti, and tomato onion jam (Other contender for my fav)
Chicken with rutabagas, kale, and maitake mushrooms

Fourth Course

Corned beef brisket with Brussel sprouts, apples, black trumpets and parsnip puree
Lamb filled Shepard's pie with a side of broccoli rabe

Fifth Course

Chocolate Guinnes cake with whiskey blood oranges, chocolate malt ice cream, and warm butterscotch cream (we both had this)
Earl grey panna cotta with chocolate sauce, caramel ice cream, and a Scottish shortbread cookie.

So a big surprise for me was the mushrooms in two of Megan's dishes... they were great! The maitake were especially good. I believe these are also known as Hen of the Woods mushrooms but I'm not entirely certain. If they are, I know they are particular favorites of my fathers.

The beet ravioli's were hands down the single best fresh ravioli's I've ever had. You could tell that they were made there and their texture was spot on perfect. I'm not sure, but I would swear I tasted white truffle oil on top and it combined very well with the watercress.

The bronzini and the chicken were both perfectly cooked. I sometimes get angry when a restaurant brings out as perfect a dish as both of these and I just want to stand up and yell "Why can't my chicken/fish come out like this?!?!?!?" Crisp on the outside and moist deliciousness on the inside.

The beers and wines were all delicious. I was excited to see each beer that came out as they were significantly better than I was expecting. The Captain Lawrence Imperial Pale Ale was a very special surprise as well since I've been wanting to try that beer for a bit now.

The pastry chef made Megan up a coconut sorbet from scratch during dinner to go with her dessert and it was really great. The only thing about the dessert I was not crazy about was the caramel popcorn that was between the ice cream and the guiness cake. It made for a very interesting texture but felt a little over the top.

I would recommend this restaurant to anybody. They source as much locally or wild as possible and everything felt hand selected by the chef himself. Megan and I are planning on trying to go down another time and Megan insists that we only go on a night when our waiter Larulo (guessing there) is there again. The service was extraordinary and I'm sure his brother Mario does a great job as well.

If you want to check out their website you can find it at Enjoy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

This week

So I'm trying to be more regular about posting so for right now, here's just the goals I can think of for the upcoming week.

Finish Module 7 for FM

Do all sample exam problems for modules 1-7

Finish prepping my schedule to sign up for classes for next week

Take care of any outstanding bills/whatnot if I have any

So yeah, better stuff to come later