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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Five Must Have NYC Cold Brews! Coffee Spot #5: Prodigy Coffee


A little bit about Prodigy:

While tasting Prodigy’s coffee, I spoke with Manager Ashley.   Ashley informed me that Prodigy has been around for 3 and half years.  Owned and operated by two long time friends and restaurant veterans.  Chris (part owner), is also the owner of Gotham Coffee Roasters in Brooklyn, NY where Prodigy does its roasting.  Both Chris and other part owner Ira have been in the coffee industry for 30 years!  Ira (other part owner) and Chris as well as their staff at Prodigy, are very much purist/passionate coffee lovers!  They are of course part of the 3rd wave generation coffee roasters and sellers.  No extra glitz, glamour or outrageous coffee drinks here.  Prodigy offers a simple, pure and tasteful cup of coffee from a plethora of countries no matter what you order!


Have you ever had a cold brew, or even an iced coffee over shaved ice?  Well today I did! I tried Prodigy’s Frost Bite, which is a single origin cold brew over shaved ice.  A specialty coffee if I’ve ever seen one!   It seems these days in this 3rd Wave generation of coffee lovers; we are all inventing our own brew to separate us from other 3rd Wave coffee roasters.  I am seeing it more and more with each shop I have walked into during this 5 shop coffee blog.  It keeps things fresh and exciting, as if the whole 3rd wave generation roasters didn't do enough already!

The Frost Bite

Prodigy’s Cold Brew (Frost Bite):

I have never had a cold brew over shaved ice before I thought to myself.   I was so intrigued and excited to get my first one!  The cold brew was a Guatemalan brew roasted by Prodigy themselves and brewed for a short 12 hours.  The cold brew is a straight concentrate and is not diluted when served.  This means you are getting almost 3 cups of coffee in one cup of your cold brew, because it is not diluted. (More bang for your buck that's for sure!)   I did add a touch or two of milk into my coffee to lighten it up a bit too.  If you are interested in the quality of milk for your coffee, Prodigy uses the creamy Hudson Valley Fresh for the best taste possible.

The Frost Bite was robust and energizing.  The brew consisted of tasting notes similar to caramel, nut and dark chocolate.  There was an appetizing chalky taste to the brew almost like the taste you get when eating a dark cacao chocolate.  The brew being straight concentrate was quite thick, but with a little milk, it definitely lighted it up a bit.  Also as the shaved ice melted, it helped to add a bit of water into the mix.  The shaved iced really kept the coffee freezing cold and lasted much longer than I would have thought.  I was worried it would melt quicker than normal ice cubes, but was surprised and wrong!  I had just tasted my first coffee slushy and I loved it!


Prodigy does offer a few featured drinks, which you can see photographed above, but being that I was tasting cold coffee drinks, I decided to try Prodigy’s iced coffee and iced Americano.  The iced coffee consisted of 2 oz.’s of their cold brew concentrate plus their Brooklyn blend drip coffee (consisting of two central American coffees) over ice.  The Americano is created with their NY minute espresso, which are Guatemalan beans mixed with two Brazilian beans.  Both drinks equally great, but I do recommend going for the Frostbite if you are going to head over to Prodigy.


Prodigy roasts weekly in Brooklyn at their sister company Gotham Coffee Roasters.  They import their beans through a secondary company in Baltimore, Md., dedicated to selling and buying the freshest beans possible from around the world.  Prodigy also works directly with a farmer in Ethiopia to offer their Ethiopian Yirgacheffe beans.


Prodigy is located on Carmine St. in the West Village and is a great place to stop in for a coffee before or after our Original Greenwich Village or Heart Of The Village food tours.  They have a quaint / quiet little shop where its easy to sit down and enjoy your cup of Joe.  The atmosphere is airy and open with big windows filling the shop with natural light as well!  Prodigy accepts credit and debit cards.  The frostbite is $6, iced coffee is $3 and iced Americano is $3.50.



Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Weekly Roundup: FONY In The News, 20 Best NYC Restaurants Right Now And A Croissant Battle In The West Village



+NYC NEWS+
  • THE 20 BEST RESTAURANTS IN NYC RIGHT NOW: You can spend pretty much every minute of every day chasing down something new to eat in NYC. We know, we do it. But that can get tiring, like, running-on-an-elliptical-set-to-difficulty-20 tiring, so we’re introducing Eat Seeker, our list of our current favorite restaurants in the city, new, old, whatever. When in doubt these are the ones you need to get to.  Oh, and we’ll be updating this thing throughout the year to make sure they're a real-time 20 best, so bookmarking this page probably isn't a bad idea.
  • Sasha Petraske (1973-2015): The Bar World's Greatest Contemporary Conductor.  Petraske was 42 years old when he passed away last Friday in Hudson, New York. In addition to blazing a path that forever changed the cocktail landscape, he inspired and mentored a generation of bartenders, like Sam Ross, the guy who dreamed up the Penicillin and now operates Attaboy in place of the original Milk & Honey.  According to The New York Times, Petraske was recently married and had started a consulting job in Hudson, New York. He had plans to open a third incarnation of Milk & Honey, as well as a new bar in Brooklyn called The Falconer.
  • Barclays Center Will Host Its First-Ever Beer Festival: When you build a giant arena, you have to keep finding new events to put in it: So, Brooklyn's Barclays Center has high hopes for its first-ever beer festival, Tapped, which will take place on October 25. The plan is for many lauded craft brewers — including Florida's Cigar City, Michigan's Founders, and New York's own War Flag — to attract beer lovers to the event's two, three-hour-long sessions.
  • Edible Events: September 2015.  There are all manner of fun food events taking place in New York on a daily basis — from lavish, charity-driven galas to crowded, walk-around tastings and an endless array of pop-ups.  But unless you have the time and money to party seven days a week, you’ll have to be somewhat discerning about what goes into your calendar.  So here are just a few, worthy food celebrations we recommend getting tickets (or making reservations) for now!


+INDUSTRY NEWS+
  • Is There a Difference Between Hoagies, Heroes, Subs, and Grinders? Depending on where you live, you may know this long, packed sandwich as a sub, hoagie, hero, or grinder. Or perhaps there's even another name you know it by: a blimp, zeppelin, torpedo, spuckie, bomber, or Dagwood, maybe? While these names refer to the same general type of sandwich, they each have their own distinct origins and nuances that set them apart.
  • How the Social Mission of Ben & Jerry’s Survived Being Gobbled Up: When Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods conglomerate, offered to buy the company in 2000 for a rich 25 percent premium, neither Mr. Cohen nor Mr. Greenfield wanted to sell. They worried that Unilever would abandon the progressive aspects of the business and run it as a soulless subsidiary.
    • Ben & Jerry's Is Bringing Back Pumpkin Cheesecake Ice Cream: Ben & Jerry’s confirmed today on its website that the company is officially bringing back its Pumpkin Cheesecake ice cream. In case you haven’t tried it in seasons past, the limited-batch flavor features pumpkin cheesecake ice cream (made with real pumpkin!) and a graham cracker swirl. Yum.
  • Seasonal Eats: Melons. Did you know that melons, squash and cucumbers are all part of the same gourd family?   If you think about it, most melons have a very similar structure to winter squash, with thick flesh and an inner seed-filled midsection.  That being said, squash are classified as vegetables, while melons are sweet and juicy fruit — which is why you’ll seldom see people chowing down on raw wedges of zucchini, and playfully spitting out the pits on a hot summers day.
  • 25 REGIONAL AMERICAN FOODS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW (BUT SHOULD): From meat pies favored by miners in Montana, to deep-fried slugburgers in northern Mississippi, here we take a deep dive into America’s culinary archives to unveil 25 hidden gems that fly off-the-radar, but remain integral to this country’s cuisine.


+NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS+

  • THE TEN BEST ICE CREAM SHOPS IN NYC, 2015 EDITION.  Cones: The handmade Argentine-style ice cream served from this barebones West Village shop has a pronounced buoyancy that's similar to its Italian relative, gelato.
  • Jack’s Wife Freda West Village: If you’ve been to the original Jack’s Wife Freda in Nolita, you know the formula: simple, almost healthy Mediterranean food, served to and by attractive people who are all crammed into a very, very small space.
  • A New Park for Greenwich Village: A $10 million park will open on Friday on the triangular lot across from what used to be St. Vincent's Hospital on Seventh Avenue. It was constructed by the Rudin and Ofer families, developers of the Greenwich Lane luxury residential project on the hospital site, who are turning the 16,000-square-foot park over to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
  • Battle of the West Village Croissants: Which Is the Best? No neighborhood offers more varieties of croissants (pronounced "kwa-saahnt," with no "s" at the end) than the West Village, which, since beatnik days, has been associated with all things French. In fact, the classic West Village hideaway restaurant was French, and a smattering of old-fashioned croissant bakeries still exist there, in addition to some newcomers. One morning, Eater editor Hillary Dixler and I set off on a croissant binge, seeking to taste every one we could find, and even tried one that is slated to hit the neighborhood soon. Here are the ones we sampled along with our tasting notes.

  • Digging Into Carbone: The popular New York transplant promises to elevate the Vegas dining experience with individualized service and tableside preparations—but will it deliver?

  • A Guide To Craft Chocolate & Where To Find It In NYC: Chelsea Market Baskets Amid all the high-end culinary goodies, find a solid selection of bean-to-bar chocolate (as well as truffles, candies, and other delights). In particular check out the bars from French maker Pralus, raw chocolate from Brooklyn maker Fine & Raw, and gritty chocolate from Taza, which grinds its beans the traditional Mexican way, using giant stones with secret, hand-made carvings.
  • Gasps over Gansevoort plan as developer calls historic street ‘blighted’: Construction on a large-scale redevelopment in the landmarked Meatpacking District could start as soon as next spring, according to the developer who plans to demolish and replace some of the historic brick buildings on the south side of Gansevoort St.

  • City Moving Forward With Affordable Housing at Elizabeth Street Garden: The city is moving forward with a controversial plan to build affordable housing on the site of a community garden on Elizabeth Street, DNAinfo New York has learned.  The city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development applied for $6 million from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to build affordable housing at 21 Spring St., the site of the volunteer-run Elizabeth Street Garden.



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

SAUSAGE SERIES: SPOTLIGHT ON ALBANESE MEATS AND POULTRY aka Moe the Butcher

Location:  238 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012

Brief History:
Albanese Meats and Poultry is affectionately known as Moe the Butcher because of the legendary character stationed behind the meat cases. Moe is 91 years young and one of the last remaining butchers on a block that is now almost completely filled with boutiques and trendy restaurants. Moe’s father, Vincenzo, opened his first shop across Elizabeth Street in the 1940’s. Both Moe and his mother, Mary, were born on this very block. His father emigrated from Sicily and when he opened the shop, Moe’s mother took the orders because she spoke English.  She eventually became skilled enough at butchering that she taught Moe and his brother when his father died young. Moe currently commutes daily from his home in the Italian enclave of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, driving himself and parking in front of the shop. With just a trickle of daily customers, Moe spends most of his mornings going to his favorite meat purveyors to then hand-cut and supply the local restaurants with his top-quality meat. The afternoon is spent catching up on paperwork and tending to his loyal customers – the very old and the hipster young, as he now has a cult following in the neighborhood as a true relic of a time gone by.


Suggested Items:
Moe is known for the meticulous manner in which he artfully butchers and pounds out his veal medallions.
4 veal medallions - $5
Sweet pork sausage – 3 links for $3
When asked about other specialty items, Moe said he had anything I would want!

My trip to see Moe:
I first encountered the lore of Moe when I took the Nolita Food Tour through Foods of New York Tours. Our wonderful guide, Anny, spoke of her love and respect for Moe. We went to his original shop across the street, which has now been turned into an art gallery. The exterior remains as it was when it was an active meat market. The vibe is very cool – old and new worlds colliding.


We didn’t get a chance to meet Moe on this tour so I knew I had to come back and meet this legendary character. Warned by my boss that Moe can be a bit curmudgeonly, I was certainly nervous about my Saturday afternoon visit to his Nolita shop. I was also warned that it might look closed or about to shut down.


Upon walking in, Moe was sitting at a table in the front of the store, working on some paperwork. He barely looked up and after a few minutes, exasperatedly asked “Can I help you?” He probably assumed I was just interested in seeing what an old-school butcher looked like, sandwiched between boutiques and high-fashion houses. My curiosity was not enough to take him away from his paperwork. Did I even cook at all, he probably wondered. Once I told him that Anny, my tour guide, sent me, his demeanor changed 100%. “Ohhh Annie Oakley!” He lit up and was more than happy to help. I saw that he was opening up so I started to pry a bit. I asked him how long he had been here. Laughing, he said he’d never been asked that before. Maybe he thought that was my way of asking how old he was, not how long his shop had been there. Either way, we began a great conversation where he revealed the history of the store, as referenced above. He showed me a very large photo of his mother, hanging right above where he was doing his paperwork. She was a stunner.

Moe told me how there used to be 5 butchers on this very block, back in the heyday of Little Italy. Each would constantly have a line out the door. Today, I was his third customer, and it was 4 pm. But Moe doesn’t hold a grudge about the changing times. He good-naturedly said he understands – the young people work all day long to pay for their expensive apartments and no one has time to cook anymore. And with so many places to order in from or dine out at, it makes perfect sense to him. However, with changing times comes a need to adapt one’s business to survive. Moe has done just that by creating great relationships with restaurants in the neighborhood. He uses his expertise to pick out meat at his favored markets and uses his excellent butchering skills to provide wonderful cuts to his restaurant customers.
And the “I got’cha” signage on the door? Moe knows – once you try his meat, he’s got ya! You’ll be back for more.  (Note the adorable grandchild photo next to the sign. This is Moe’s heart. Family and butchering).


Because I had heard about Moe’s wonderful veal, and I’ve never cooked veal at home, I knew I had to try it. Moe is a bit bent over at 91 years old. He doesn’t move quickly but he is sharp as a tack and his knife skills are still top-notch.



While he meticulously pounded out the veal between butcher paper, we continued our conversation, which inevitably turned to family.  He gestured to some photographs that adorn much of the shop, and explained that family is everything, the only thing, really. He lives near his daughter in Bensonhurst and has been blessed with many grand and now great-grandchildren. They’re what keep him going, day after day, as he steals a glance at the beautiful children behind his head.




Moe doesn’t have any children in the business. It seems that Albanese Meats & Poultry exists for as long as Moe wants to keep going. I briefly considered asking him to adopt me so I could carry on the shop for him. Anything to keep Moe’s essence in the heart of Nolita. However, I have a feeling his essence will never leave. Someone like Moe lives on for as long as people are interested in the history of the neighborhood.

The Verdict:
Armed with my veal medallions, some sweet pork sausage, and a burning desire to be adopted by Moe, I made my way home to cook. I unwrapped the beautiful, delicate, thinly-pounded veal. These would be excellent lightly breaded and fried for a veal Milanese. However, since I am following a healthy lifestyle plan called the Whole 30, I would not be breading these babies. This was perfectly fine, as the true flavor of the veal could come through. I lightly coated my sauté pan with olive oil, seasoned the veal with my trusty seasonello from Faicco’s pork store (sea salt with rosemary, garlic, sage and pepper – a one stop spice rack) and placed the veal in the pan.



Since these medallions are so thin, they only took a minute or so on each side.
The sweet pork sausage went in the pan next. Cooked up plump and delicious. The veal was wonderful. Light, succulent and tasted like the TLC that was present when Moe was preparing it for me. The pork sausage was delightful as well.


As I was leaving, Moe asked me to come back and report on the veal. And then he chuckled and remembered – he didn’t have to ask. “You’ll be back once you’ve tasted that veal.” He knows the strength of his business. After an entire lifetime in top-notch butchering, he doesn’t need to seek us out. We’ll come to you, Moe. Always, and forever.

Hungry for more? Our Nolita Food Tour spends time on Elizabeth Street where Albanese Meats and Poultry is located. Our fabulous tour guide will tell you a bit about Moe and you may even be able to steal a second inside to say hi to the legend himself. And then you’ll be back . . . for the veal.

Visit Moe at 238 Elizabeth Street, New York, NY 10012
(212) 966-1788

Check out the rest of "The Sausage Series" Blogs:

Faicco's Italian Specialties



Monday, August 24, 2015

Five Must Have NYC Cold Brews! Coffee Spot #4: Jacks Stir Brew Coffee



Jack’s Stir Brew started 11 years ago as one of the first coffee houses to exclusively serve organic, fair trade, shade grown coffee. Owner, Jack Mazzola wanted to share his core values with his customers: Community, Passion and Quality. Since 2003 Jack has created a consistently smooth cup of coffee that truly is good to the last drop.

What makes his brew so consistently great you ask?

1. The unique blend of beans Jack provides
2. The Stir Brew Coffee Machine

Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee:

Jack’s offers a unique blend of coffee, which they use for their espresso, drip and cold brew.  The signature bean that makes up the bulk of Jacks stir brew roast comes from a farm in the Dominican Republic.  Jack has a long-standing friendship with the farm and they have been working and growing together since the birth of his Company.  To complete their stir brew blend, Jack’s continues to use the finest organic, fair trade, shade grown beans from South and Central America along with Sumatra.



Selling and using one blend of beans for all sorts of coffee drinks is a unique route to go these days. This differentiates Jack’s, because most specialty coffee companies are using beans from a variety of countries, offering a different bean for each type of coffee ordered.  This is something that really separates Jack’s Coffee from other specialty shops and is very cool, in coffee culture.  Throughout the years the consistency of the cup has left happy customers coming back for more.  

The Stir Brewer:

Jack’s is also unique in that it is the only shop with its own-patented coffee machine, the Stir Brewer.  Jack attributes his rich, full-bodied flavor of his drip coffee to this machine.  The stir brewer is a device of his own invention that oxygenates the coffee grinds as they brew, allegedly reducing their acidity.  The machine stirs the grinds of coffee for a total of 5 minutes within the filter to make all of the coffee wet and leaving nothing behind or missed.  With a continuous stir, Jack feels that you get a fantastic full-bodied blend of coffee.  The idea of the Stir brewer came from stirring a cup of coffee for full extraction of flavor.  Inspired by this idea, a world-class engineer and friend of Jack’s father’s created the stir brew coffee machine in 2003.



Tasting Time:

Although the stir brew is Jack’s signature drink, he offers a plethora of other great coffee drink options.  Since it is summer and it is hot… I am on a cold brew hunt!   Believably, the cold brew is their top summer seller.  When first trying Jack’s cold brew, I had mine black without milk.  The brew has a very mellow body with a chocolaty /cacao taste leaving you with an ideal dry taste like chocolate normally has.  In addition, the cup portrayed a nutty flavor.  With a brew time of 18 hours, you are sure to get a robust, but refreshing and tasteful cup of joe.   I did try the cold brew with the Hudson Valley fresh milk Jack offers as well, which paired perfectly.
Some other top sellers and fun drinks include Jack’s signatures–

Happy Jack: Honey Cinnamon Latte
Dirty Harry: Vanilla Soy Latte




Visit Jack’s Stir Brew:

I highly recommend Jack’s shops, because they have great customer service with knowledgeable baristas.  Also, they don't just sell coffee!  Jack’s serves goodies that pair great with coffee.  And these goodies (pastries, bagels and oatmeal) are all vegan, organic and/or gluten free!

They offer a 16oz cold brew for $4.15 or a 20oz for $4.55.   They accept credit and debit cards.

On our Heart of the Village tour and/or our Original Greenwich Village tour, we are just a few blocks away from Jack’s, so its right in the neighborhood if you like coffee before or after the tours!  Check it out!

Locations include –
10th Street
Front Street
Downing Street
West 13th (Rag & Bone)
West 23rd St (inside Peloton Cycle.)


Check out the rest of our "FIVE MUST HAVE NYC COLD BREWS" Blogs:

#1 Champion Coffee

#2 Bubby's Highline - Meatpacking District

#3 Porto Rico Importing Company

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Weekly Roundup: Bon Appetit's 10 Best New Restaurants, NYC Vendy Awards and History of the Sundae AND The Cannoli

+NYC NEWS+
  • April Bloomfield Will Open Salvation Burger in October:  Salvation Burger, Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield’s second collaboration with the Pod hotel chain (the first was Salvation Taco), just might be the burger joint to end all burger joints.
  • Transforming Food Waste into Cutting Edge American Cuisine:  Americans waste tons of food—about 70 billion pounds a year. In fact, an estimated 25 to 40 percent of the food that we grow, process, and transport in the U.S. is never consumed.  These stats have become an obsession for Dan Barber, executive chef and co-owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns, the Michelin rated restaurant in Sleepy Hollow, New York. Walk through his kitchen with him, and he'll point out food waste that you never even thought of—everything from organ meat to the liquid in a can of garbanzo beans. 
  • A Crustacean Crawl Through City Island:  City Island is one of the best not quite kept secrets among New Yorkers — a quaint fishing village improbably situated on the far-flung banks of the Bronx.  And for landlocked urban dwellers, hoping to make the most of the final, fleeting weeks of summer, it’s an ideal weekend day trip; requiring an hour or less drive to Long Island Sound, or a simple subway ride on the 6 train to Pelham Bay Park.
  • A Very Brief Tour of the Met Through Food:  To celebrate the recent 140th birthday of New York’s most magnificent museum, we selected some of our favorite food-related pieces in the Met’s collection.


+INDUSTRY NEWS+
  • The Mystery of San Marzano…Tomatoes that is.
  • Take the Cannoli: One Pastry’s Rise From Sicilian Treat to Iconic Dessert.  Cannoli were lionized, if not invented, in Sicily. They and other pastries were typically associated with annual Christian rites. Cassata, a ricotta cake in the disk shape of the sun, was an ode to Easter and spring’s renewal. A ricotta-cream cake with a candied cherry on top called Minne di Sant’ Aita resembled women’s breasts and was served on Catania’s February festival day commemorating the martyrdom of St. Agatha.
  • America's Best New Restaurants 2015:  For his annual Hot 10 list, Andrew Knowlton dined at hundreds of restaurants, traveled thousands of miles, and devoured something like a million calories—all in search of the country’s best new places to eat. Here are the breakout spots you should be planning your next trip around.
  • The Barely Legal History of the Ice Cream Sundae:  While the exact history of the ice cream sundae is contested, one theory points to a crafty legal loophole. Blue laws are religious laws that once banned (and in some states continue to ban) certain activities on Sundays, from selling liquor to visiting a neighbor’s house to “misbehavior” of any kind. One such law in the late 1800s forbade the sale of soda on the Sabbath.


+NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS+


  • Dante Review on Theinfatuation.com:  Dante is a new restaurant that’s not entirely a new restaurant. This space on MacDougal Street was home to Caffe Dante for over 100 years, only to recently close, much to the dismay of many Village residents 



  • Smashed Cucumber Salad Takes Manhattan:  Smashed cucumbers have long been found at local Chinese restaurants, like Xi’an Famous Foods. But this summer, they are suddenly everywhere: At Mr. Bowien’s Mexican-influenced restaurant Mission Cantina, dressed with an intensely flavored, lime-, cumin- and oregano-spiked sesame paste; at the new Untitled at the Whitney, in a dish of soba noodles, baby turnips and tuna tartare; at the Ippudo ramen restaurants, where the cucumber is lightly smashed and dressed with sesame oil and garlic.





Wednesday, August 19, 2015

SAUSAGE SERIES: SPOTLIGHT ON OTTOMANELLI & SONS PRIME MEAT MARKET


Location:
285 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10014

Brief History: 
Ottomanelli’s was opened in the 1940’s by Onofrio Ottomanelli. Hailing from Bari, in the Pugliese region of Italy, Onofrio learned the craft of butchery from his mother.  He first worked in his uncles’ butcher shop before venturing out on his own. He had 8 children and taught his 4 sons the butchery business, with Frank eventually taking it over after Onofrio passed away in 2000.
Ottomanelli’s has been awarded Slow Food’s Snail of Approval for “their practice and maintenance of what has become a severely endangered set of skills, of artistry really, that bridges the wide gap between the animal in the field and the food in the pan.”

Suggested Items: 
Ottomanelli’s is known for their excellent game. In fact, their glass window is emblazoned with “Specialty Wild Game” and a sign below on the wood paneling says “The World’s Finest Lamb and Venison”.



-With this in mind, the lamb merguez sausage came highly recommended - $6.99/lb
-Hot and sweet pork sausage - $4.99/lb
-Hand cut bacon
-Lamb bacon
-Boneless ribeye
-Buffalo, ostrich, squab, venison, duck, boar, quail eggs

My trip to Ottomanelli’s:
Upon entering Ottomanelli’s, I felt like I was being greeted by 5 of my grandfathers. Each butcher has their own personality. Some are curmudgeonly; some are smiling and eager to please. And almost all sent a sweet wink my way.  The store itself is no-frills in the best sense of the phrase. My eye was immediately drawn to the meat cases and some basic signage. There is nothing extra here to buy on shelves; the focus is on the meat. It seems as if not much has changed since the 1940’s, which is the way it should be when one is looking for a glimpse into the quality and taste of a bygone era.




I asked for the basic sausages and also some specialty items. I was directed to the hot and sweet pork, the good old staples of an old-school pork store.
And because I’m a sucker for bacon, now having been enlightened by my experience at Faicco’s, I ordered some hand-cut pork bacon.  I was then directed by my butcher to try some lamb sausage and bacon. Since they’re known for game, I was certainly game (hardy har) to try it.
And lastly, when I asked if there was anything else I just HAD to try, my butcher pointed me in the direction of the boneless ribeye. Hand cut to perfection, he told me to lightly coat in olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic, and either cook on a grill or in the oven.
The BEST part was that he wrote the cooking times on the butcher paper which wrapped up each item. This was great because it’s easy to get confused when buying a variety of items with different cooking times.
They asked me to come back and report on how everything went over and seemed genuinely interested in whether I had enough. I was pretty sure I had MORE than enough!

The Verdict:
First on the list to try was the variety of sausages and the lamb bacon. I was really excited to try the lamb sausage and lamb bacon. I got the pan hot with olive oil and added the sausages and bacon.

Lamb bacon, sweet pork, hot pork



The lamb bacon had a great combo of fat and meat and the slightly gamey texture was a great new taste (for me) for bacon. They cooked up small and were WAY too easy to eat before they even made it onto the plate. Meat candy for sure. The hot and sweet sausages were delicious as well. They retained much of their juice and were dense. Again, no fillers, nitrates, or extra stuff. The hot sausages are definitely for people who have a spicy palate (not me). My husband, who does, really enjoyed the variety of flavors in the hot.
Now onto the lamb sausage. Thinner than the standard pork sausages, these had a shorter cooking time. While the pork takes about 8 minutes on each side, these take about 5 minutes on each side (as I was able to reference from what the butcher wrote on the paper!).




The verdict on the lamb sausage is two thumbs way up. Very unique, distinct flavors. Not very chewy, as people sometimes worry about with game. Definitely a different sensation than the pork sausage – more like the texture of a meatball.
We paired our meal with zucchini (cooked in the pork/bacon fat, natch). Delightful!
And after last week’s lamentations about mountains of dishes, paper plates are now in rotation. Hurrah! More time to eat and blog.



Breakfast the next day was a great opportunity to cook up the regular pork bacon. Last week I cooked it on the stovetop. This week, I decided to try the oven, which works well for me with packaged bacon. I found out the hard way that this method does not work as well with the hand-cut bacon. There isn’t as much fat to render so the oven dried it out a bit (which actually means its healthier than the packaged stuff!). Oh well, live and learn. And it’s certainly not as if we didn’t eat it. It was still delicious, paired with my zucchini/carrot/sausage egg frittata.  I threw in a few extra pieces of the lamb bacon and this time, they did not make it to the plate before I just had to taste-test. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone.

Pork bacon and Lamb bacon


Last stop on the Ottomanelli’s food journey (for now!) was the next night when I cooked up the boneless ribeye. The special pricing on this was $20.99/lb.  I followed the butcher’s recommendation to lightly rub olive oil in on each side, along with salt and pepper and garlic. A million times yes to the garlic. I seared the meat on both sides in a pan that had been getting very hot on the stovetop and then finished it off in the oven. The searing seals in the juices.





Several keys to steak that we’ve learned over many years of trial and error:
Taking it out of the fridge and letting it come up to room temperature before cooking
Searing in the juices in a hot pan on the stovetop
After cooking, tenting it in foil and letting it stand for a bit before slicing.
Depending on the size of the steak, it can either continue cooking on the stovetop, or if thicker, can be finished in the oven.
A cast iron skillet is your best friend with steaks.

This steak is a little over for my liking but I was striking a happy ‘medium’ for the family. Ah the art of compromise!

I fully believe that going to a fabulous steakhouse like Peter Luger, Old Homestead (near our Chelsea Market tour!), or Keen’s is an experience not-to-be missed, but I now also fully believe that it is possible to cook delicious steak at home and not spend an arm and a leg at a restaurant. When the budget (or a baby at home) doesn’t allow for a night out, cooking steak at home can be a truly mouth-watering and satisfying experience. A combo of great sides (creamed spinach omg), a glass of red, and a perfectly cooked steak makes for a truly delightful evening. And if you ‘forget’ the veggie side, it’s ok, I won’t tell.

I can’t wait to stop back in to Ottomanelli’s and share how good everything was. I know they’ll appreciate the feedback and direct me to new meat wonders, with a wink and a smile!

Hungry for more? Our Original Greenwich Village Food Tour meets on Bleecker Street, just down the block from Ottomanelli’s.

Visit Ottomanelli’s at 285 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10014
(212) 675-4217

Check out the rest of "The Sausage Series" Blogs:

Faicco's Italian Specialties

SPOTLIGHT ON ALBANESE MEATS AND POULTRY aka Moe the Butcher



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