Tag Archives: New York

i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating in Brooklyn

i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating in BrooklynBrooklyn is no longer a side trip to take when you’ve run out of things to do across the river in Manhattan. It’s now the reason many people visit New York and a place most tourists plan to spend some time. There are several neighborhoods to explore for a mind-boggling range of ethnic foods, and to sample “hipster” Brooklyn. But I focused my picks in and around “Brownstone Brooklyn” because they’re near the sites tourists come to see – the Waterfront Park, BAM for dance and theater, Barclay’s Center for basketball, hockey and concerts, and the Brooklyn Museum and Botanic Garden. The museum, the city’s third largest, has a renowned Egypt collection (many items are from expeditions it funded in the early 1900s) and serves up modern art that’s interesting and sometimes controversial. Its Target-sponsored First Saturday evenings combine art, theater, music, and food and draw an eclectic mix of people, including families on the early side.

Breakfast: Teresa’s

i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating in BrooklynTeresa’s, a Brooklyn Heights staple for decades, is a few blocks from the Heights Promenade with its often-filmed skyline views. They capably cook up all the usual breakfast foods including buttermilk pancakes (a favorite for neighborhood kids) and egg dishes. But you really go for the Polish food: blintzes, potato pancakes, apple fritters, four kinds of pierogi, and grilled kielbasa.

My suggestion: The blintzes with sweet cheese and plum butter have the right balance of sweet, creamy, and tart and go well with a cup of coffee. If I’m craving something savory I go for the potato pancakes, maybe with a side of kielbasa. It’s a good place to order a few different plates to share. If you prefer eggs but want them with a Polish accent, go for the kielbasa omelet.

Price: breakfast dishes are in the $6-$10 range.
Hours: Daily: 7am-11pm
Address: 80 Montague St, near Hicks St.; Brooklyn Heights
Phone Number: 718-797-3996
Website: Ha! The place is way to old school for such nonsense.
Photo: Zomato 

Second Breakfast (Bakery): Almondine

i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating in BrooklynIf you head to DUMBO to explore our ever-changing Brooklyn Bridge waterfront park you’ll be blissfully near Almondine. It’s thoroughly French and everything is good. Expect lines late on weekend mornings.

My suggestion: I love the plump Jelly donuts (beignets) even if they do leave me covered in powdered sugar. I like their almond croissants as well. My daughter goes for the brightly colored macarons or the eclairs, depending on how hungry she is.

Price: upscale NYC bakery prices so $3 to $8 for pastries.
Hours: Mon-Sat: 7am-7pm; Sun: 10am-6pm
Address: 85 Water St, near Main St.; DUMBO
Phone Number: 718-797-5026
Website: http://www.almondinebakery.com
Photo flickr cc

Lunch: Brooklyn Crab

i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating in BrooklynBrooklyn Crab is a little out of the way, but worth a cab ride (you can also take the NYC Water Taxi to the Red Hook Dock). The two upper floors have a bar, outdoor picnic tables and a covered dining area with huge windows that open in summer. The top floor has views of the harbor and the Statue of Liberty. People flock in summer for platters of steamed crab or lobster, fried clams and and a decent kids’ menu. On the ground floor you’ll find a large backyard with a bar, picnic tables, a small mini-golf course, beanbag toss, and shuffleboard tables. The menu is smaller than upstairs, but it’s a great place to while away an afternoon. It’s popular with groups and families and, inexplicably, with local French expats.

My Suggestion: We like the crab roll and the steamer clams when they’re in season. If we aren’t with a group we eat upstairs then head to the backyard for ice cream, a second beer, and some games.

Price: beer $5-6/pint; wine $8-10/glass; appetizers $8-12; sandwiches $15-24; $17-50
Hours: Open year-round. Sunday – Thursday: 11:30am – 10:00 pm; Friday – Saturday: 11:30am – midnight
Address: 24 Reed St, Red Hook, and Brooklyn 11231
Phone Number: 718-643-2722
Website: http://www.brooklyncrab.com

Coffee shop: Tom’s Restaurant

i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating in BrooklynTom’s Restaurant is a step into classic Brooklyn just a few blocks from the Museum and Botanical Garden. The old soda fountain and counter tell you what to order. Lime rickey’s, egg creams, ice cream sodas, and floats come in tall, thick fountain glasses. Order a shake and they’ll bring you the extra that didn’t fit in the glass on the side.

My suggestion: They’re known for the lemon-ricotta pancakes, but my daughter likes the chocolate chip ones. I like their huevos rancheros, unless I go for a classic grilled cheese with tomato on rye. We often share a cherry lemonade.

Price: fountain drinks $3-6; breakfast $3-14; lunch items $5-15
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM; Sunday: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Address: 782 Washington Avenue, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn 11238
Phone Number: 718-636-9738
Website: http://www.tomsbrooklyn.com/about.html

Happy Hour 1: Strong Place

i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating in Brooklyn
Beer and Cupcakes: Smuttynose Beer & Porter S’more, Brewery Ommegang & Orange-Almond, Great Divide Brew & Lemon Curd

Brooklyn is hive of innovative brewing, fermenting, distilling, shaking, and stirring these days. So picking one bar is not only unfair but also nearly impossible. If you’re a beer drinker I’d head to Strong Place for its good tap selection and innovative bar food. A weeknight happy hour offers 2-for-1 local beers and very good $1 oysters.

My suggestion: Ask what’s in season and on the happy hour list.

Price: Tap beer $6-12;
Hours: happy hour is 4:00 pm-7:00 pm weekdays.
Address: 270 Court Street, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn 11231
Phone Number: 718-855-2105
Website: http://www.strong-place.com

Happy Hour 2: The Clover Club

i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating in BrooklynThe Clover Club is considered the pioneer and standard-bearer for mixologist-centered cocktail bars in the borough. A weekday happy hour here serves up a selection of drinks and snacks for about half-price.

My suggestion: The cocktails rotate so go with the season, your mood and your favorite booze. Order a round of deviled eggs to go with whatever you’re drinking.

Price: Select cocktails $7; wine $6; beer $4; snacks $5-7.
Hours: happy hour is 4:00 pm -7:00 pm weekdays.
Address: 210 Smith Street, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn 11201
Phone Number: 718-855-7939
Website: https://cloverclubny.com

Dinner: Alma 

i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating in BrooklynBypass the gritty ground-floor bar at Alma and head upstairs to the restaurant with its huge picture windows and top-floor roof deck. The views of the Brooklyn waterfront and harbor are reason enough to visit. And the Mexican food is first rate.

My suggestion: The Chilaquiles, ceviches, chile relleno, and enchiladas are all authentic, interesting, and tasty.

Price: beer $7; wine $8-12; margaritas about $12; appetizers $6-16; entrees $16-$30
Hours: Monday- Thursday: 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm; Friday: 5:30 pm – 11:00 pm; Saturday – Sunday: 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Address: 187 Columbia Street; Brooklyn 11231
Phone Number: 718.643.5400
Website: http://almarestaurant.com

Hotel: The Nu Hotel

i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating in BrooklynThe Nu Hotel is a modern boutique hotel that’s central to Brooklyn’s major cultural institutions and a few blocks from Barclay’s Center. It’s an easy subway hop to Manhattan or the Brooklyn waterfront. The neighborhoods around it offer ample eating, drinking, and shopping. It offers complimentary breakfast, bicycles to borrow, and a family suite with bunk beds. It’s pet friendly.

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i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating in Brooklyn

Photo Wikimedia Commons: Theeditor93


Eileen Gunn. i8tonite: A Cheat Sheet to Eating in BrooklynEileen Gunn is the founder of FamiliesGo! and at least the 4th generation of her family to settle in Brooklyn. When she’s not eating her way through New York City, you can find her on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.



– The End. Go Eat. –

i8tonite with Chef Barret Beyer:TV’s Reality Chef Opens Up About Cooking Sober

Barret Beyer 2Chef Barret Beyer epitomizes new beginnings and change, inspiring millions with his cooking and actions. While working in New York City’s financial industry and boom era during the aughts, Beyer was arrested ten times for drug charges, even overdosing in 2006. For ten years, from 1998 until 2008, he was in and out of jails. However coinciding with the birth his daughter in 2008, the reality TV star finally got sober.

Beyer said, “I couldn’t do it anymore. I wanted to be a father she could look up to.” He did.

Leaving the world of finance and clanging cells bars behind, the love of cooking become the inspiration for his life’s next course. Always a home cook, Beyer attended culinary school in his native Long Island. Before even graduating the ambitious New Yorker already had a job as a sous chef.

Barret BeyerBeyer then made it to “Hell’s Kitchen” with the legendary kitchen screamer Gordon Ramsey. His favorite television experience. Although, he didn’t win the show, Beyer realized that working in the kitchen is the work he loves.

It’s that drive to succeed and healthy ambition which drove him to participate in “Cutthroat Kitchen”, another on-camera cooking competition. “I was the first one cut. It was for not putting the chicken on a Chicken Caesar Salad,” the chef says while chuckling at his folly.

From his experience on reality TV, the cheffing professional has become a consultant opening a multitude of East Coast restaurants, receiving many accolades along the way. Food & Beverage Magazine and Chef Works have both named him “Chef of The Month”, in 2013 and 2014, respectively. With his new found celebrity status, Beyer volunteers or works non-profits events around the country including the Long Island Hospitality Ball, spokesperson for “Bullyin’ We’re Kickin it”, a Rocky Marciano Jr. organization and the annual fundraiser for Michelle’s Place Breast Cancer Resource Center in Temecula, California.

With eight years of sobriety and five years of cooking, it’s clear Chef Beyer has changed his life.

 Chef’s Questionnaire:

clamsHow long have you been cooking? I just came up on my 5th year anniversary. I started culinary school this past December, five years ago.

What is your favorite food to cook? I love cooking comfort food but elevating it to the next level.

What do you always have in your fridge at home? Gatorade, water, bacon, butter and French vanilla creamer

What do you cook at home? For myself, anything that can be done in 3-5 minutes, but when I’m trying to come up with recipes, it’s no holds barred.

What marked characteristic do you love in a customer? People who aren’t afraid to try new things

What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a customer? The opposite of the above answer. LOL.

Tupperware, Rubbermaid, or Pyrex? Tupperware at home. Rubbermaid for my equipment and Pyrex in any kitchen.

Beer, wine or cocktail? To drink, I would say none of them; however to cook?  (I use) all of them.

Your favorite cookbook author? I honestly never had a favorite cookbook author because I rarely use them.

Your favorite kitchen tool? My knives. Isn’t that every chefs’ favorite?

ShrimpYour favorite ingredient? Hmmmmm. I have a few. Grape seed oil because of its high smoke point, Himalayan pink salt because of its mineral value, and garlic.

Your least favorite ingredient? Curry. I had neighbors that abused it.

Least favorite thing to do in a kitchen? Standing still. I love cooking.

Favorite types of cuisine to cook? American classics with maybe a fusion of Latin or French

Beef, chicken, pork or tofu?  Pork. I believe in low and slow to achieve flavoris maximus. (Ok, I made that word up.)

Favorite vegetable? Corn and Cauliflower

Chef you most admire? Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsay and Anthony Bourdain

Food you like the most to eat? Pizza, pulled pork and ramen… and sometimes all at the same time

Food you dislike the most? Anything with curry

How many tattoos? And if so, how many are of food? 14 total. None of food yet I am not a fan of colors. I do have a tattoo on my forearm that says mise en place – everything in its place.

Chef Barret Beyer’s Scallops with Wasabi Cream


  • U10 Scallops (largest available)
  • 1/4 head cauliflower
  • Heavy cream
  • Wasabi powder
  • One corn on the cob
  • One red pepper
  • Peppadew
  • Grenadine
  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Vinegar
  • One small can pineapple juice 6 oz
  • One tbs chili flake
  • Two tsp honey
  • Micro-greens

Cooking Instructions

For the gastrique:  Place vinegar, pineapple juice, about 1/3 cup grenadine, sugar, red chili flake, honey, 3 tbsp. water and about 5 Peppadew peppers in pot. Let it reduce for about 20 minutes on high heat. Blend with an immersion blender. Should be the consistency of syrup; if it’s not, place back on heat and reduce more.

On medium heat put about 1/4 cup of heavy cream in a medium pot and add about 1/4 of a head cauliflower and cover. Let simmer until cauliflower is cooked through and tender; using an immersion blender, puree cauliflower. Add about 1 oz of wasabi powder, 3-4 Peppadew peppers and 2 tbsp. of juice from the jar while mixing.

Cut corn kernels from the cob, tossing with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 8 minutes at 425 degrees. Put in a bowl with small diced red pepper, about 1 tbsp. of grape seed oil salt and pepper. Mix and set aside. In a large sauté pan, put heat on high and let the pan get hot. Add grape seed oil and let the oil heat up.

Put scallops on a paper towel to absorb the moisture, so they are dry, and then dash them with salt and pepper. Place the scallops in the pan and let them get a good sear on one side for about 60 seconds. Flip the scallops and leave them on high heat for about another 30 seconds.  Then turn off heat and remove the pan from stove. Put the scallops on a clean paper towel to absorb oil.

On a plate, place a spoonful of the wasabi cauliflower under each scallop and place corn salsa on top of the puree. Add scallop and top with micro greens.  Drizzle the gastrique about the cauliflower. Serve.

The End. Go Eat.




Meatless Monday: NYC Style Tofu and Vegetable Tempura

(Note: This is re-run — currently traveling in Denver.  We will be back to our regularly scheduled program on Wednesday.)

Way back….way back…in the old days, the 80s, I was a vegan. Yup. Yup. I know it’s hard to believe but I was and living the romantic (not!) bohemian (not!) life in New York’s Tribeca. Times were tough. Money was not plentiful (It’s not now either). I was young, idealistic, hungry having just graduated school, working in an art gallery doing marketing plus waiting tables to make ends meet.

Vegetables and Tofu for Tempura

It was the late 80s, early 90s. The Tunnel was the place to go. Tama Janowitz was big in the literary circles. Madonna was doing “voguing”. Ross Bleckner was the artist everyone was buying and I got involved in my first relationship and started to cook vegan. We decided to stop eating dairy products since he was lactose intolerant. His parents never removed his tonsils as a child, he was now subjected to severe bouts of strep throat for weeks at a time, especially after he drank milk or ate cheese. Bacteria clung to his tonsils and had a party.

We lived in a converted loft in Tribeca on Franklin Street, between West Broadway and Broadway, three blocks south of Canal Street. At the time, there was a store about three blocks to the West, called Commodities just up from the glorious restaurant Chanterelle. It was a huge massive store. One of the few groceries stores in the area (down a little further there was a Gristedes or some chain supermarket) and it featured a lot of soy products, tempeh, meatless burgers, seitan. This was long before Whole Foods or Erewhon. This may have been the first store of its kind in Manhattan but I don’t remember. I do remember it wasn’t cheap. But it was their produce section and soy area that I started to make tempura without egg. It’s a simple process of a cup of flour (any flour), a teaspoon of baking soda and powder and club soda, maybe 1/2cup. (I eyeball it.) Stir until you get a thick paste with lumps. Throw in your veggies: onions, carrots, broccoli, whatever you have. (In tonight’s Meatless Monday, I used Swiss Chard stems. Yum!) Fry up in a wok or sautee pan and dip. Salt while still hot. And since, it was a rainy LA Monday, it was perfect comfort food.

Tofu, Zucchini, Swiss Chard Stems, Red Bell Pepper, Carrots
Tofu, Zucchini, Swiss Chard Stems, Red Bell Pepper, Carrots