By Molly Jean

About Molly Jean

Molly Jean Bennett's poems, essays, and strongly worded letters have appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, VICE, Bustle, and elsewhere. Her chapbook Paper Apartment is forthcoming from Essay Press. She lives on the northern edge of Bed Stuy.

Food Book Fair Showcases the Best of Food in Print
Photo by Alper Çuğun via Creative Commons CC BY

Novelist Stephanie Danler’s favorite depiction of food in literature comes from the Seamus Heaney poem “Oysters,” which begins:

Our shells clacked on the plates.
My tongue was a filling estuary,
My palate hung with starlight:
As I tasted the salty Pleiades
Orion dipped his foot into the water.

Danler mentioned the poem in a panel discussion on food in literature titled “Food and Fiction,” one of the events at this year’s Food Book Fair, which was held at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg on May 1st and 2nd.

Danler, who wrote Sweetbitter, was joined on the panel by Jessica Tom, author of the novel Food Whore, and Helen Ellis, whose collection of humorous short stories American Housewife came out earlier this year. Cathy Erway, host of “Eat Your Words” on the Heritage Radio Network and author of The Food of Taiwan and The Art of Eating In, was the moderator.

The sensory richness of the Seamus Heaney poem that Danler cited—“my palate hung with starlight”—set a fitting tone for the Food Book Fair, which felt like a celebration of all that is beautiful in food writing and publishing. Continue reading

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Brooklyn Bartenders Face Off In Bloody Mary Mix Down

Bloody Marys
Bloody Mary Mix Down entries by Shantel Grant of Forrest Point and Andrew Porteus of Juno

Mixing the perfect Bloody Mary is a subtle art. There’s no one authoritative recipe, and from a flavor chemist’s perspective, the blend of sweet, salty, sour and savory flavor compounds makes it “the world’s most complex cocktail.” As such, the Bloody Mary is ripe for innovation and ready for debate.

Last Monday evening at Over the Eight bar, 11 bartenders took up their horseradish, olives, and smoked meats to compete in the Brooklyn preliminary round of the Bloody Mary Mix Down. The competition is part of an annual series of events leading up to the NYC Hot Sauce Expo, which will be held in Greenpoint on April 23 and 24. Lisa Seabury of High River Sauces, who presented the event in collaboration with Stoli Vodka and Murph’s Bloody Mary Mix, began holding mix downs four years ago “to showcase the creativity of bartenders.” She believes that the Bloody Mary in particular is “highly personal, like the underwear you put on in the morning.” Indeed, the contestants’ drew their recipes from a host of diverse influences, often blending family history with their years of experience in bars across Brooklyn. Continue reading

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Grand Street Restaurant Week Returns 2/22—2/28

Grand Street Restaurant Week, a project of Grand Street Business Improvement District, will return to Williamsburg next week. From Monday February 22 through Sunday February 28, twelve restaurants up and down Grand Street will feature lunch specials for $10 or less and dinners for $30 or less.

Grand Street Restaurant Week Lineup
Image courtesy of Grand Street BID

Notable among this year’s participants is Mediterranean joint Dar 525 (525 Grand Street), whose offerings will include kafta kebab and chicken gyro platters, falafel sandwiches, and safiha pizza with ground lamb, beef, tomato, and parsley. The owner will match all of Dar 525’s dinner proceeds Monday through Friday and donate them to Sheltering Arms, a non-profit that provides a wide array of services to low-income NYC youth and families. Continue reading

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