Monday, November 15, 2010

We Went to There: Fatty 'Cue

A nice Eastern European man picked us up in a grey Lexus, number 96. He took us to a weird, industrial block in Williamsburg near the water. We stopped at the building with a red rooster painted on the side. The air smelled of smoked meats, pickles, chilis.

Our waiter was especially chatty. He wanted to make sure that we knew that sharing was encouraged (we did,) and that we were planning on ordering some greens (we weren't necessarily, but then we did.) He also told us that Sam Sifton inhales his food and that the smoked crab laksa recipe was off the menu, being tweaked -- the night's only disappointment.

We ordered some cocktails. I had the 'Cue, with rum, smoked pineapple, tabasco, and Pernod. It was intensely spicy, citrusy, and strong. M tried one of the cocktail specials -- a rootbeer sazerac. It was syrupy and tasted of winter spices. I was tempted by the Hitachino bombers (too overpriced) and the Recession Special, which includes a shot of whiskey, a shot of pickle back, and a PBR tallboy.

We started with a bowl of cucumbers, pictured above. They were cut into chunks, and tossed with smoked chili, brown rice vinegar, and sesame seeds. They were like spicy, un-pickled pickles: acidic with vinegar but fully crunchy and refreshing inside. The only problem was that there were too many -- probably two, three whole cucumbers. With these we ordered a plate of the 'Cue Coriander Bacon -- smoked, thick-cut bacon served with delicate toast triangles and a little cup of creamy yellow curry custard. The bacon was perfectly fatty and rich -- best enjoyed, I thought, with another item we ordered off the snack menu: Bowl of Noodles. Sam Sifton described this dish as "the OxyContin of Ramen" -- the noodles sit in a bowl of resting meat juices, chilis, and scallions, which nicely coat the noodles upon tossing. Also, the bowl came with a soup spoon full of house-made Sriracha. This may have been one of the best dishes of the night.

Our large-plate item was the Brandt Farms Beef Brisket, pictured above. The plate came with two cuts of brisket -- one fatty, one lean -- four doughy bao buns for sandwich-making, pickled red onions and cilantro, a little palette of chili jam and aioli, and a cup of bone broth. My technique was this: smear the inside of the bao with the aioli (I wasn't ready to fuck with the chili jam), lay the fatty cuts into the folds, pile on the pickled onions and cilantro, press the bao closed, and dip into the bone broth; eat; repeat; pick at the leaner cuts, which then paled in comparison to their fattier predecessors.

Then we had our pie. We ordered the whole pie menu -- which consisted of only two kinds of pie -- but still. We got a slice of spiced pumpkin pie, and a slice of whipped peanut butter pie with a chocolate top layer and a pretzel-crumb crust. These were First Prize pies -- they were second rate pies, but they were made by a company called First Prize Pies. The spiced pumpkin needed to be spicier and moister, and the whipped peanut butter pie desperately needed more salt. The meal ended on a high note, however, as we received a couple of moistened hand wipes with the check. Thanks Fatty 'Cue! Stay tuned for more Williamsburg Theres in the coming months..

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Went: Westward hum!

I tried to eat everything before my departure, and here's the run down:

Head Cheese!
Colt and Gray:  I went to here with my dear friend, JB, to celebrate his arrival in Denver.  Colt and Gray was one of the restaurants written about in the NYT shortly before I headed west, and is a pretty exquisite place.  There was a fireplace, there were cozy gray (ahem) chairs in the small dining room, the servers were super friendly, and my company was superb.  I've always loved gray, chose to wear it more often than not, and find its presence to be reflective of grace, calm, and refinement.  That's pretty much what Colt and Gray felt like--oh, and the food was really good too.  We took a chance and ordered the head cheese.  Yes, that happened.  Head cheese is a meat jelly, and yes, sounds kind of gross, but I swear it's not!  The head of this animal, or animals, was delicious, and I had no compunctions past ordering it that interfered with my enjoyment of it.  JB had the butternut squash gnocchi, which he allowed to try--firm, soft, savory, sweet, perfect.  I had the cioppino, and it was sublime.  I've never met a shellfish I didn't like, but the addition here of the tomato fennel broth put this over the top.  I'm crazy for fennel--and recently had some fennel ice cream here in Brooklyn, but that's for another post.  We shared a bottle of wine, and reveled in the potted cheesecake--the memory of which still makes my mouth water.
Potted Cheesecake

Roast Duck Salad

The Kitchen:  My first dining experience in Boulder was exceptional.  There's something about lunch on a day that's everybody else's workday that can't be beat in my world.  It can feel like the most relaxed, decadent, happy experience a girl could hope for.  And The Kitchen might just be one of the most perfect fulfillments of this idea.  I went with a girlfriend, RB, and together in the warm sunlight of a cool day, we shared the tomato soup, the lamb burger, and the beet and hazelnut salad, and the duck salad with poached eggs.  I also had the Eton Mess--an unformed Fool, if you will, or Trifle with meringue instead of lady fingers.  It was a perfect meal that I will never forget.
Tomato soup and Beet salad

D Bar Desserts:  I became very wistful at D Bar, seeing all the groups of women sharing food and sweets.  I texted a couple of my girls while I was there to tell them I wished we were together--it's the sort of place you go to with your sister, with your girlfriends, with your mother in law, with little girls.  And then you go to the ballet.  Oh well, I went alone, and I went for cookies.  You can't offer a cookie plate and not expect me on your doorstep.  Four cookies, all fresh from the oven, came with a glass of iced milk.  It was gooey, and decadent, and happy.  D Bar is a happy place--where grilled cheese lives peacefully beside chocolate cake and a mini malted, and where desserts are, slyly, "enjoyed in broad daylight."
French Toast with Maple Bacon Syrup at Snooze
Greasy Spoon

Reader, I ate so many more meals--I went to Jax Fish House in Boulder, Tee and Cakes, and to H Burger.  To Oceanaire, back to Rioja, to The Market, Noodle and Co., Ted's  Montana Grill, Sexy Pizza, P17, Snooze, Cru, Sam's No. 3, and many more.   My appetite is limitless, but now it must go to Brooklyn, back to its cousin appetite, to go to there again.