Williamsburger Hosting Guide: Dinner
Sunday, May 18th, 2008

This guide for hosting out-of-town guests is part of the Williamsburger Hosting Guide.

Williamsburg is one of New York’s dream foodie neighborhoods, where you can get pretty much any world cuisine. Especially Thai. If you’ve got out-of-town visitors, it’s great to show them culinary experiences they won’t get at home, and ideally without spending too much of the money you need for rent.

Fette Sau BBQ Platter For Two Fette Sau

354 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Yelp

Fette Sau is the first place anyone staying with us ends up. There’s a euphoria in going up to the counter, asking for a platter for 4, and knowing you’ll get a huge variety of delicious, unexpected meats for around $20/person. The barbecue smell lingers in your clothes for a long time, so expect to continue craving a return visit for a while, and don’t wear anything you don’t expect to wash soon.

La Piazzetta La Piazzetta

442 Graham Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

www.lapiazzettany.com

Photo from www.lapiazzettany.com

Italian food done right. The antipasto platter and any of the pasta dishes are big favorites, and the wine list is inexpensive and good. The experience falls into the frequently seen upscale Williamsburg Italian style, but with a friendlier attitude than Bamonte’s and better food than Giando’s. I tend to make reservations here, although I’m sure I’ve ever really needed them.

Zenkichi Entrance Zenkichi

77 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Yelp

A little upscale and potentially too adventurous for some visitors, this hidden-away gem serves 10-course Japanese tasting menus in private curtained booths. The sake tasting flights are exquisite, if again, not cheap.

Queen's Hideaway: Pork, Chili, Pancakes Queen’s Hideaway

222 Franklin St, Brooklyn, NY 11222

www.thequeenshideaway.com

I remain deeply in love with the always-changing menu at Queen’s Hideaway, up in Greenpoint. A great destination for adventurous diners, as you never really know what you’re going to get until you arrive. Reservations are a good idea here.

(sorry, no picture yet) Fada

530 Driggs Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Yelp

Fada serves dinner late into the night, and the welcoming French bistro atmosphere and attention to good food makes this a prime choice to bring guests. The moules du jour (mussels) are always a safe bet, but nothing on the menu disappoints. If you’re good at planning ahead, you can call at least one day in advance, and they’ll prepare bouillabaisse for a minimum of 4 people.

Etsy Shopping Spree
Monday, August 20th, 2007



Scarf For Two (The Black Apple)

After months of favorites-list marking and bemoaning the empty spaces on our white(ish) walls in our new(ish) high-ceilinged if not alll that large apartment, we spent most of this rainy Sunday shopping away on Etsy.

I’ve bought a few things there before, a print and some jewelry, but mostly I’ve just clicked around, saving copies of prints to put in my computer desktop background rotation, where they would lie in wait for the eventual day I’d give in and drop some money on the ones I really liked a lot. And putting painting after print after t-shirt into my favorites list (represented by a cute little heart).

Just in the interface, you can tell the people behind Etsy really care about getting their artists’ goods out to the public, including some very nice shopping features like interviews with artists, galleries (public lists by users), and the innovative if eventually unhelpful color-based shopping path. They have some performance issues at times (we seemed to have abnormally slow page load times around 6-7pm), but considering their relative newness as a tech company and image-content-heaviness, this isn’t all that shocking. If Etsy can figure out how to do Amazon-style recommendations with their content, they could have something truly amazing as opposed to just a great place to buy art.

After hours of deliberation (there’s a ton of stuff on Etsy!), we narrowed it down to a bunch of pieces that really struck us as befitting our styles. A not insignificant but fortunately also not ridiculous amount of money later, we walked off with (technically, sat around and waited for) a nice big pile of art to brighten up those sterile walls.

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East River State Park
Sunday, August 19th, 2007

East River State Park

On the end of North 8th lies the official entrance to Williamsburg’s East River State Park, a small space of grass and concrete providing a much-needed green space along the East River.

The last time I was here, a few years ago, I had to sneak in through a hole in the fence, and it was just an empty space filled with rubble and unkempt brush. Now, it’s a park with hundreds of people lounging and admiring the East River and the Manhattan skyline view. Sometimes, progress is awesome.

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Le Barricou
Thursday, August 9th, 2007

Cheese Steak @ Le Barricou

I think Le Barricou has the potential to be a very good bistro, and a solid brunch site. The hanger steak cheese steak is the highest-end cheese steak I’ve ever eaten, with all the trappings of a Philly-style cheese steak (onions, peppers, cheese) but with quality cheese, bread, and sliced hanger steak instead of whatever that stuff is that goes into a regular cheese steak.

Chicken Sandwich @ Le Barricou

Their chicken sandwich is also excellent, with the same level of great cheese and bread.

If you show up early enough for brunch, you get a basket of croissant and pain au chocolate. Hopefully it’s just recent-opening issues, but if you show up too late in the afternoon, you get no tasty bread snacks.

Coffee @ Le Barricou

Unfortunately, the coffee is disappointing, which means I’ll be going for tea the next time I return for brunch.

Le Barricou
533 Grand St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(718) 782-7372

BBQ Pork Spare Ribs
Thursday, August 9th, 2007
Pork Ribs: Step 3
  • 1 rack pork spare ribs (about 3 1/2 lbs)
  • Some kind of basic store-bought BBQ sauce
  • 3 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp smoke salt
  • 1/3 tsp cayenne
  1. Make spice rub with ingredients above.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.
  3. Take broiler pan out from under the oven, line bottom part of pan with aluminium foil.
  4. Wash and pat dry the ribs.
  5. Season both sides of ribs with spice rub.
  6. Bake ribs meat side up on second-to-bottom rack for 1 hour.

    Pork Ribs: Step 1
  7. Remove from oven.
  8. Pour tiny bit of liquid fat out of pan and into a can to get it out of the way.
  9. Paint meat on bony side with BBQ sauce.
  10. Flip back over to have meaty side on top, paint with lots of BBQ sauce such that all meat is covered.

    Pork Ribs: Step 2
  11. Lower oven temperature to 325.
  12. Cook for about 90 minutes until meat has pulled back from the bones.
  13. Remove from oven, let rest for 10 minutes
  14. While resting, raise oven temp to 450 and put a package of Pillsbury biscuits in. Bake for the 10 minutes specified on the package.
  15. Accompany with Brooklyn Pilsner for best effect.

Inspired by this recipe.