Honey and
Ricotta
a food journal

Monday, 31 August 2015

Brooklyn Bridge


For our last two years living together in London, B and I had a fabulous photo of Brooklyn Bridge, taken by a family friend, hanging in our bedroom.



It therefore seemed a magical coincidence that we eventually ended up in New York, and even more so when we ended up in Brooklyn, and then even, even more so when we walked home from Manhattan in our first week here, which involved crossing Brooklyn Bridge.



Once we'd found our way on to the bridge (it's probably worth flicking through this website so you don't get as lost trying to find your way on to the bridge as we did), we meandered at tourist pace, looking forwards, backwards and to both sides, cameras out, pointing at skyscrapers and snapping away, until we reached the Brooklyn side.



The most spectacular views of Manhattan lay themselves out behind the poles, and the sun glares through the wires until you reach Dumbo and retreat inside one of the scenic cafés for a cooling glass of lemonade.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Brucie


As two Londoners who have arrived in New York with very little income and an as yet unopened American bank account, finding someone who would let us rent their flat apartment, without us having to pay a whole year's rent up front, was a little tricky. After days of getting together money orders, signing form after form, printing UK bank statements, talking to a guarantor, and rushing back to Brooklyn to confirm everything was in order, we finally managed to sign the lease on a fabulous basement flat garden apartment in the heart of Boerum Hill. A celebration was in order, so we nipped off round the corner from our future home for dinner at Brucie. 


We sipped on frozen Negronis in the yard, toasting our soon-to-be home, and our new (already much loved) neighbourhood, and excitedly discussed where the kitchen table would go, what to put on the terrace outside, how easy it would be for B to get to school, the almost unbelievable proximity of Bluebottle Coffee...


All this excitement soon had our tummies soon rumbling from, so we ordered our food and moved to the cool, air-conditioned indoors to eat our way through an Italian-American feast. Fried string beans with anchovy and aioli were reminiscent of classic American BBQ, with just the right amount of char on each and every bean: perhaps the tastiest green beans I'd ever tried. Kale salad with currants, pine nuts and parmesan was crunchy and sweet and free from the deep muddy earthiness I often associate with kale leaves. Bowls of pasta followed: a classic, and beautifully executed spaghetti and meatball for B, and an unusual but successful Asian take on tagliatelle with lobster, bacon and tomato for me - sprinkled with sesame, chilli, spring onions and sesame oil, this dish had been turned into an umami explosion.


A few glasses of cooling rosé later, we paid the bill check in the bizarre American fashion which we still don't really understand, and made our way home. Via a compulsory Friday night ice-cream at Ample Hills.

Highlight: Frozen negronis
Lowlight: I now think that the new apartment will need a slush machine so I too can make frozen negronis.

Brucie, 234 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens




Summer in New York City is hot. Ragingly, ceaselessly hot. Iced coffee, air conditioning and ice-cream have become my go-to survival methods, as has spending time in shady outdoor spaces.




Tucked away in Prospect Park, acres and acres of exotic flowers, towering trees, beautiful greenhouses and perfectly cropped grass make up the Botanic Gardens.



Surrounded by the bright colours, birdsong, and perfumed smells, I temporarily forgot I was in the middle of the famous urban jungle. This outdoor space seems even more important when it's in NYC: they've even created an enormous garden just for children to learn to grow plants, to care for them, and hopefully to soon understand and live by the motto below...


Meandering around the botanical garden alone on a blue-skied August day with my camera was the ideal way to cope with the heatwave.




The rose garden was blooming, the most fantastic scent filled the avenues of flowers and thorns: there were many happy minutes spent with my nose stuck in the different varieties of roses.




This is a wonderful space where you could roam for hours, for days, for a whole Summer, admiring the bizarre and beautiful plants, lying on the lawns with a good book, soaking up the searing sun.




Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 150 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11225

Friday, 28 August 2015

5 Things & 3 More


The craziness of the last few weeks has finally calmed down, and I've finally re-found the time to sit down, read, think, reflect, and write. So, here are 5 happy things from the last week:

1. Running a lap of Prospect Park.
2. Richard Estes exhibition at the Museum of Art and Design.
3. Quite and calm in Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
4. Ice in my coffee.
5. The wonderful floaty feeling after my first yoga class in a month.

3 of the best things I've read this week that I wanted to share with you all:

1. This woman spent 15 years on Death Row in Mississippi.
2. Italians used social media to build an actual, real community.
3. Rachel Roddy's words on cooking in Sicily have me aching to go back to that magical island.

X

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Pastrami Sandwich at Katz's Deli


B and I had one week of freedom together in NYC before B started at school. Besides having a billion life admin things to sort in those few days, we also had a few NYC tourist must do's to tick off our list before Monday rolled around. One of those, was lunch at Katz's Deli.


Hailed as 'New York's most iconic deli' which serves up 'the world's greatest pastrami sandwich' (and also the location of one of the most brilliant Where Harry Met Sally scenes), it's no surprise that even on a weekday in August, this place is packed full of New Yorkers, of tourists, of businessmen, of students: there's barely a seat to spare.


The quantities of pastrami being cut and served behind the counter are astounding. Every week Katz's serves up 4.5 tons of pastrami. That's 235 tons of pastrami a year. And that's an amount I just can't comprehend.


Knowing what to order wasn't tricky for us first timers. Our stomachs still haven't quite stretched to the New York portion sizes, so we split a pastrami sandwich and settled into a seat in the corner where we could attempt to get our teeth around those many, many layers of meat.

It's going to take some more practice until we can eat this sandwich with as much dignity as a proper New Yorker.


Katz's Delicatessen, 205 E Houston Street, New York, NY 10002

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Cereal Milk Soft Serve, Milk Bar


When B & I finally agreed that we were going to move to NYC, one of the first things I did was order myself a copy of Christina Tosi's Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook. I then spent many, many hours on the sofa reading, re-reading, and re-re-reading the recipes for cereal milk ice-cream, for the rainbow sprinkle filled birthday cake, for the compost cookies...

It therefore came as no surprise to those who have to live with me that two days in to our New York adventure, I had already made it to Milk Bar to finally taste the wondrous cereal milk soft serve that I'd read so, so much about.


The people working in here must have thought I was completely crazy as I had the widest, most excited smile across my face when they handed us over our order, cereal milk with crunch (for B), and cereal milk with sprinkles (for me). Photographs had to be taken quickly as I couldn't stand one more second of waiting to try this ice-cream. And, thankfully, this was with good reason: life in NYC can never be sad when Milk Bar is always only a few minutes away.

Milk Bar Williamsburg, 382 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, 11211 (check here for other locations).

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Four & Twenty Blackbirds (Baked in a Pie)


Sunday was our first day in New York where we were free from running around Brooklyn to view as many flats apartments as possible. After a jog around Prospect Park with the rest of the Brooklynites we headed down 3rd avenue to grab a slice of Sunday morning pie at Four & Twenty Blackbirds.


The pies available that day were scrawled on a blackboard above the tiny kitchen at the back of the café, and the smell of freshly baked pastry and summer fruits filled the space. People nipped in and out to buy something to take away, others sat working at the communal table, and some slowly sipped their coffee and flicked through the Sunday papers, but there was clearly one reason everybody was here: for a slice of pie.


Four and Twenty Blackbirds is run by two sisters, and their first café sits in the industrial-turning-residential neighbourhood of Gowanus. The menu of fresh pies changes every day, the fruits change with every season: there's no reason not to go at least once a week to try their newest pie creation.


B and I ordered (and then fought over every mouthful of) a slice of salted caramel apple pie (which we may have had a couple more slices of since our first visit) and a slice of peach and raspberry crumble pie. We couldn't have asked for a better introduction to the American world of pie, and we doubt we'll every try any pie which tastes better than this. Crunchy, flaky pastry; sweet, jammy fruit; and a perfect splodge of freshly whipped cream on the side. We're convinced that this pie and a strong black coffee is what every Sunday morning breakfast should consist of.


Four & Twenty Blackbirds, 439 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11215


Monday, 24 August 2015

LDN to NYC


We arrived in New York late last Thursday night. When we finally clambered into a yellow taxi after a long flight, an interminable queue for security at JFK, and then another huge line of people waiting for taxis outside the airport, we suddenly realised that, after months and months of planning and organising and stressing, we had, finally, made it to NYC. We drove through the outskirts of Brooklyn with the windows down, staring at all the buildings, people, lights, cars, signs, that we passed by. Everything seemed big, noisy, hot,  and overwhelming. 45 minutes later we were dropped on the pavement (or sidewalk, as I should now be calling it) at our hotel on 4th Avenue, Brooklyn. We lugged our heavy bags inside and fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow, only to wake up a few hours later, still exhausted. Oh, the joys of jet lag.

10 days in to our new New York life, we have walked all over Brooklyn looking for a flat (or apartment) to move into; we have found a flat; we have signed a lease; we have filled in many, many forms; we have complained about the heat innumerable times; we've opened a bank account; we have eaten ice-cream every day; we've set up American 'cell' phones; we've run around Prospect Park; and we've just about got over our jet lag (although B still insists that he needs a cup of tea at 6pm every day to keep him awake until it's an acceptable time to fall asleep). It's been busy and it's been exhausting, but this big city which we had barely stepped foot in before last week, is slowly beginning to feel like somewhere that we think we will someday be able to call home. Despite all the bizarre Americanisms that keep popping up and reminding us that we are strangers in this city.

We're excited and inspired - and a little bit scared - but I can't wait to share our new American life here with y'all.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

At The Chapel, Bruton



We spent two blissful days and nights at At the Chapel in Bruton. This hotel, restaurant and bakery is like a slice of London which has been picked up and placed in the beautiful Somerset countryside, away from the noise, the stress, the grumpy people, and the pollution. 



As you may have guessed from its name, this place is a converted chapel, and as a result has the highest ceilings, the longest, most spectacular windows, and an amazing sense of calm. 





The main room in the building is busy all day with people drinking coffee, eating breakfast, sharing pizzas, tucking into burgers, having tea, enjoying a cocktail, and treating themselves with dinner. You can sit at a communal table, in a squidgy green armchair, or at a table surrounding the central space at any time of day, and if you're anything like us, you'll be tempted to not move any further than that room for many, many hours.



The whole hotel is beautifully decorated in a chic, minimal style, the staff are wonderfully friendly, and the fantastic Hauser & Wirth art gallery (which also has the most fabulous restaurant and bar) is only a 10-minute walk away. But, if I'm being honest with you, the real reason we were drawn to stay here was the bakery. 



At the front of the building there's a small room filled with a huge wood-fired oven out of which the Chapel bakers produce croissants, breads, pizzas, pastries, biscuits, cakes, all day, and all night. We feasted for two days on everything this bakery produced. The best croissants we've ever had were hung on our bedroom door everything morning and eaten in bed with a strong cup of tea and lashings of strawberry jam. Avocado and poached eggs were served on flax seed bread alongside a coffee after a run around the Somerset fields. Hot pizzas were shared at lunchtime and soon led into the soft focaccia that began every dinner. A slice of chocolate and beetroot cake ended our final dinner in the most spectacular way. 


We ate ourselves silly during our short stay at At the Chapel. The restaurant serves the freshest, most local, and seasonal food, and we did a fabulous job of eating our way through the menu (as you can see). We left Somerset stuffed, relaxed, and oh-so-happy, with a car loaded up with pastries and loaves of bread to take home  for breakfast the next day.



Highlight: Croissants
Lowlight: Croissants are tricky to eat in bed

At the Chapel, 28 High Street, Bruton, Somerset, BA10 0AE
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