Monday, September 30, 2013

Day 1050 : My newest cheese crush

Yesterday was the New Amsterdam Market's Cheese market featuring a series of local and artisanal creameries along with breads, prepared foods, plenty of end of summer produce, small production chocolates and pickles and much more. 

On the creamery front there was Jasper Hill with their new release Alpha Tolman, an Alpine style firm aged cheese and of course their classics like Bayley Hazen Blue. There was Vermont farmstead with perfectly delectable Lille and their always wonderful Governor's Cheddar. Edgwick Farm had their wonderful goat's milk cheeses - in particular their Idlewild and of course their Feta and their fresh infused goat's milk cheeses. 

On top of my local favorites, present was a new creamery for me -- Cherry Grove Creamery based out of Lawrenceville, NJ. Their raw cow's mik aged Alpine style cheese -- Havilah blew me away. Nutty and buttery with that classic aged crystallization tang and notes of grassy, farmsteady delight. Aged for a minimum of six months, this is an honest and truly wonderful local new cheese discovery. 

A versatile pairing partner, my top choice would be with a glass of medium bodied fruit forward red wine but a nice pint of Sixpoint's Autumnation would also go wonderfully.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Day 1049 : On the note of Vermont Farmstead....

Looking for an opportunity to try their line of cheeses and meet the folks behind this wonderful cheesemaking operation, well stop by the New Amsterdam Market this Sunday between 11am and 4pm to sample, chat, and purchase their wonderful cheeses.

This will be one of four special Fall New Amsterdam Markets!

Also on hand will be Campbell Cheese, the Cellars at Jasper Hills, Cheese Pops, Cherry Grove, Edgwick Farm, Kriemhild Dairy Fair, Quinciple, Sprout Creek Farm, Twin Maple Farm, and of course our friend at Vermont Farmstead!

The Market takes place at Newmarket Square, fronting the New Market Building of the old Fulton Fish Market. This unique structure is the last Riverfront Market House constructed in the City of New York, dedicated to public service by Mayor LaGuardia in 1939.

The Market is held outdoors, under cover.
Walk, bike down the East River bike path, or take:
the A/C to Broadway Nassau
the 2,3,4,5,J to Fulton Street
or the M15 and M15 Select to the Seaport / Fulton Street
New York Water Taxi to Pier 16 / South Street Seaport
East River Ferry to Pier 11 (Wall Street)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Day 1048 : My favorite early Fall pairing

Happy First Day of Fall!
It's time for apple picking, Oktoberfest, leaves changing color, crisp air and much much more.

Why not grab some of Vermont Farmstead's Governor's Cheddar, crisp apples, pecans, honey and a nice bottle of red wine to ring in the new season?

Governor's Cheddar is aged for over a year and is nutty and buttery yet warming and full bodied. This cheddar has that classic crystallization and a nice butterscotchy caramelly fruity tang. The Governor's Cheddar is the perfect welcome to Fall cheese.

Served with crisp fresh apple slices, pecans and maybe a drizzle of local Wildflower honey, this will be an excellent Autumnal pairing.

I'd suggest a nice glass of French Cahors -- medium bodied, fruit forward and great with the Cheddar!


Monday, September 16, 2013

Day 1047: Glasserie

Located in an abyss of warehouses, factories, lofts, and artist studios sits Glasserie. Named aptly for the building's prior tenant -- a glass factory, this middle eastern inspired restaurant opened earlier this summer. More recently however, they rolled out a brunch menu which I had the pleasure of trying this past Sunday.

The space is light and airy; the menu Middle Eastern inspired with a sense of creativity; and the cocktails were definitely not of your typical brunch sort.

So what did I have?

The poached eggs in tomato stew. Was this going to be their version of eggs in purgatory, the traditional Italian brunch dish? Or was it going to be something completely different? It was warm chopped up heirloom tomatoes, basil, sautéed onions, spices all in a wonderfully comforting simple broth with two poached eggs at the center. On the side were two pieces of bread lathered with tahini and paprika. Warming and filling yet not heavy, this was flavorful and dynamic -- a lovely brunch dish.

And a cocktail to go with?

How about white wine, aperol and fresh squeezed orange juice?

Refreshing and a little bit different from all those other brunch cocktails.

Overall a lovely meal in Northern Greenpoint, a really nice addition to the neighborhood.

95 Commercial Street

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Day 1046 : In the middle of the Atlantic...

Well you won't be reading this from the middle of the Atlantic but its being written from the looks of it, somewhere between Iceland and England, approximately 4,067 km from New York where it is a temperature of -53 degrees Celsius. 

Yes, I'm headed home, well at least for a little bit. Guess what I'm brining home with me folks-- French cheese of course!

So what did I decide to bring home with me?

A Chabichou de Poitou - an aged goat's milk cheese from the Loire Valley that was just perfect right now - aged to the point of perfection, still having utilized this summer's milk. Dense and cakey yet light and airy, with notes of grass and citrus and a nice tangy milky finish. Sure you can find this cheese in the US, but it does not resemble the beauty and delicate decadence of its French counterpart.

Why you may ask? 

My answer is simple transport. That cheese in the US had to travel much farther to reach your plate - the taste profile of a cheese directly correlates to the distance of its commute to your mouth.

And what else?

Well I had to get two Alpine style cheeses as the Fromagier I purchased them from was known for his excellent treatment of Alpine style cheeses. 

The first of which was a 30 month old aged Comté, crafted utilizing milk from approximately March of 2011. Isn't it funny to think back as you taste this cheese, where you were in March of 2011. Take a moment to think back to where you were then, this cheese has been aging since then! Isn't that crazy?

The 30 month old Comté is nutty, butterscotchy, and rustic with that fantastic aged crystallization. This an old boy and an old boy with character. Refined and aged to perfection. This needs an elegant red wine to accompany it.

And what else?

How about a nice morsel do Fribourg d'Alpage - classically Alpine in characteristic - nutty and grassy with notes of honey and hay and a round warming bent. This is crowd pleasing cheese done well my friends and by one of the best producers - this is the perfect cheese to usher in Fall.

And that my friends is what has returned from across the pond.
Now it is time for some State side cheese explorations in the coming days.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Day 1045 : YOLO

You Only Live Once and when you do, you should most certainly experience Agapé Substance. Elegance, refinement, creativity, decadence, and delightful ingenuity abound at this petite sleek restaurant space on the Rue Mazarine in the 6th arrondissement in Paris. Helmed by Gaëtan Gentil and Laurent Lapaire, this is French modernist cuisine for the 21st century. 

Lunch started with melt in your mouth beet root chips. Followed by an elegant and simple pairing of fresh peppers, Greek feta, homemade lemon and olive oil syrup, chamomile flowers, black olive and sea salt crumbles. Gosh, who knew how delectable these few fresh ingredients could be!

Next up was the perfect end of summer celebration -- heirloom tomato strawberry gazpacho served with a boule of melon sorbet and a drizzle of basil infused olive oil, topped with the black olive sea salt. All my favorite flavors all rolled into one. Wow. This was pure edible beauty.

Next up was just a small portion of artichoke, girolles and hen of the woods mushroom risotto. Earthy and rustic in the most wonderful of ways. This was a meal about tastes, flavors, sensations, delights. 

Next up was smoked mackerel served with vervenne leaves, a soy and chervil dip, green zebra and herb shaved ice. Unique flavor pairing danced across your palate in this truly French aromatic and dynamic dish. 

Lastly, roasted turbot, a cauliflower purée, a roundelle of roasted pear, fennel flowers and smoked parsley and chervil. A celebration of freshness and interesting flavors in the most elegant of manners was the perfect way to end this fantastic meal.

Looking for a meal that is unique and dynamic yet elegant and fantastic and is a true celebration of each and every seasonal ingredient then look no further than Agapé Substance.

Agapé Substance
66, Rue Mazarine
Paris 75006

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Day 1044 : Looks can be deceiving...

On a busy thoroughfare in the 11th arrondissement sits Le Chateaubriand. From the exterior this French bistro looks like the sort of place you would go for a glass of Bordeaux and a steak frites or a classic chèvre chaud salad but no this was not that sort of bistro. Inaki Aizpitarte and his talented team surely bring Le Chateaubriand to the forefront of French modernist dining. No a la carte here, set menus only, wine pairings available.

So what was the meal?

We started with homemade cheese gougeres with poppy seeds as an amuse bouche. 

Then came a flurry of petite plats - ceviche of red mullet and rose water. Sleek and flavorful, sensual and clean. This was paired with a wonderful sake. 

Next up mini crevettes served with passion fruit dust. Passion fruit and crevettes in a French restaurant? Well yes, this was a wonderful pairing - salty, briny, fruity, tangy and flavorful. Served with a glass of Georgian orange wine. 

Next up was an heirloom tomato, crab, soup with fresh figs, greens, and morsels of yellow and red tomatoes. An avant garde melange of flavors that just meshed in the most perfect of manners. Aromatic and seasonal, decadent yet light, this was all about the fresh bursts of the end of summer's bounty.

Next up was tuna served with girolles, ginkgo leaves, and cacao nibs. Yes, I did just list those ingredients one right after another -- a combination you would never think to combine but boy was it wonderful - the richness of the tuna melts in your mouth while the earthy, farmsteady notes of the girolles are complemented by the green vegetal notes of the ginkgo leaves and all is finished off with the slightly sweet but somewhat bitterness of the cacao nibs. 

Lastly was a milky coconut infused broth, red onion, cabbage, loup de mer dish. This was a dish for those of us who love aromatics. Fan of onion? This dish was for you! 

Next up, you had the choice between cheese and dessert -- what do you think I chose? 

Cheese of course!

A selection of classics -- Ossau Iraty, Morbier, Comte, Roquefort, and Crottin de Chavignol. But the best part about the cheese plate was how the Ossau Iraty was served -- in large thin ribbon like slices. The perfect way to taste the rustic nutty caramelly, butterscotchy flavors that this cheese is known for. By serving the cheese in ribbons, the cheese was elevated to a more elegant flavor profile, more delicate and refined. 

Overall a truly spectacular meal combining the most unique of flavor profiles. Le Chateaubriand is all about taking risks and those risks surely are huge successes. 

Le Chateaubriand
129, Avenue Parmentier
75011, Paris

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