Honey and
Ricotta
a food journal

Monday, 29 May 2017

Calaca



With so many wonderful restaurants to choose from in this city, it’s rare to return somewhere multiple times. Rucola is top of our re-visit list (being only one block from our front door obviously helps!), but Calaca is quickly catching up. Seafood-focused Mexican food in Bed-Stuy may not sound like the description of a number 1 NYC restaurant, but I promise it is. And everyone who we've dragged there will attest to this.

We always try to arrive before 7pm. And no, this isn't because we've moved onto American dining times. Firstly, we need to get a seat. There's only space for about 20 people, and Calaca is, unsurprisingly, super popular with the Bed-Stuy locals. Secondly, the $5 happy hour margaritas should not be missed.

The margaritas are potent but refreshing. Made with small-batch Mexican tequila and fresh lime juice, you’ll be struggling to resist a third and fourth round. If you’re feeling fancy, try the Mezcalita, which is smoky and slightly spiced: the smoked paprika in the salted rim is genius.

The fresh fish-centric menu is based on the food of the Mexican state Sinaloa. The tuna tostada just might be the single best dish I’ve eaten in this city: a made-to-order flour tortilla is toasted and topped with chipotle mayo, finely sliced avocado, lightly marinated tuna, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. The grilled elotes, cheesy quesadillas, and shrimp ceviche are all also magical. Everything is colorful and zingy. Even if it's a Monday night, you’ll end up ordering many more rounds of tacos and margaritas than you had planned for. It's okay: we do the same. Every time.

Calaca, 139 Putnam Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

5ive Spice


A restaurant with a number in its name, which serves a fusion of Vietnamese and Mexican food, should be a disaster. Somehow, 5ive Spice has achieved an impossible feat, and defies all expectations its name and concept provide.

We honored our suspicious instinct on our first few visits, and ordered the truly Vietnamese options i.e. the pho. The broth is elegantly spiced, meaty but not fatty, and so fragrant. When you take a spoonful, you feel its healing and comforting powers. Slurp up the noodles, chew the extremely generous portions of meat, and sprinkle on as much cilantro, basil, lime, and chiles as your tastebuds desire. Every bowl is huge, but you'll finish every last drop. That broth is too good to leave behind.

When you do trust this place enough to venture further afield on the menu, you'll have a revelation that these two cuisines can indeed be successfully combined. Tacos filled with lightly pickled veg and lemongrass grilled chicken are terrifyingly addictive; and grilled corn, it turns out, makes a great accompaniment to a bright rice vermicelli salad (pictured above).

No alcohol is served, and the prices are incredibly reasonable. You'll be heading back for another bowl of healing pho as soon as the next rainy day arrives.

5ive Spice, 52 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

5 Things & 3 More


5 happy things from the last 5 days:

1. Stuffed full of food after a Monday night with friends.
2. Reading.
3. Vitamix-ing breakfast.
4. Father John Misty blew my mind.
5. I signed up for a marathon. Does this make me happy? I'm not sure. Scared? Yes. Nervously excited? Also yes.

3 things to read this weekend:

1. James Comey. Donald Trump. This is a good article.
2. Needing quiet, blueberries, and granola chunks: Ashley is as wise and wonderful as ever.
3. A week in the endlessly fun and fascinating life of salad-loving Julia Sherman.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Elsa




Should you spend the evening before a crazy fast 5k race drinking cocktails? Probably not. But Elsa had only just opened that Friday night, and we couldn't wait to go. So the race was allowed to fall down the priority list, as we made space in our lives for a couple of fantastic cocktails.

The original Alphabet City location of this bar closed in 2014. Those locals mourned it, but the locals of its newfound home are overjoyed with its re-opening. Sitting on Atlantic Avenue, half a block away from another top cocktail spot, The Long Island Bar, Elsa is already packed with thirsty locals at 6pm on a Friday.

A neon sign of an angry-looking woman sits in the window, and inside everything becomes rather glam. Crystal pendant lights, a polished brass bar, marble tables, flickering candles and beers poured through a vintage sewing machine. Quirky, cool, and the prettiest place to while away an evening.

The cocktail list is long, and demands some tough decisions. After faltering between an aged Negroni, a spiced tequila creation, or maybe even a gin & Pimm's summer sensation, we eventually settled on a Two French Sisters (vodka, St. Germain, lemon, orange bitters, Champagne) and a happy hour special Old Fashioned. And nuts. Obviously. We runners need snacks.


Do we need to tell you they were wonderful? It was hard to resist a second. But race-fueling beckoned, so the drinks had to wait for next time. And we're promised frozen rosé with watermelon in Elsa's patio in the summer months, so it won't be long before we return.

Elsa, 136 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11201.
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