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Two lovely occurrences in my life.

Two things have entered my life that I’ve just got to write about on b4b.  The first is a treat from abroad, and the second is a product of the good old USA.

1) Speculoos spread.


This stuff is almost as addictive as nutella.  Speculoos are cookies from Belgium, and the spread has been featured at the Wafels and Dinges trucks in NYC.  The cookies are brown sugar based, and they are the type of treat that would normally be served with a side of some proper tea.  BG and I picked some of this up in the Bon Marché when we were in Paris, where this stuff grows on trees and is as plentiful as the wind.

Try it. And if you can find it here in NYC, tell me where!

2) Ronnybrook Farm Eggnog!


At the farmer’s market today, uberchef spotted a little bottle of magic deliciousness.  He knows of my obsession with the nog, and immediately pointed it out to me.  And now, here I am, ready to indulge in my favorite cold-weather treat.  Mixed with a little dark rum… delicious.

It's like Proust, only longer.

Deuxième Partie.  Êtes-vous prêts?  C’est parti…

Time for the second nail-biting installment of the trip to Paris.  Reading over the first entry, all it makes it seem like I did all weekend was eat.  That is maybe 64% true.

After the giant feast at le comptoir, the burger buddies were feeling a little sluggish.  Food was last on our minds as we headed over to the Louvre and wandered around the tuileries for most of the early and late afternoon.  Well, last on our minds until dinner time rolled around.

We both had a craving for something.  Something meaty, and something smothered in an addictive sauce.  And this meatiness “à côté de” some fried potato items.  I’m talking about the one, the only, Le Relais de Venise l’entrecôte.  Its original location is located in Paris’ 6th.  We walked over to it, only to find a line going halfway down the block.  I guess this will teach us to try to go to l’entrecôte on a Saturday night.

We ended up at a little bistro also locatd in the 6th arrondissement.  Overall, the meal was uneventful, except for the petite souris that BG saw in the corner of the covered outdoor area.  The reaction by the waiter: “c’est possible.”  So French.

Prior to this, I had enjoyed some andouillette (AAAAA , of course.  Which stands for Association amicale des amateurs d’andouillette authentique, in case you are curious).  It is a delightful French treat, which is basically a sausage stuffed with tripe.  And it smells, umm, delicious… and earthy.  And that’s putting it lightly.


After that we called it a night, since our stomachs were still reeling a bit.  And we had to get ready for a couple of strong days of eating (they were our last two, after all).

We awoke on Sunday morning and headed over the Raspail Marché Bio, a huge organic farmer’s market on Boulevard Raspail, also in the 6th.  The market is intense, and basically blows away any farmer’s market here in the US.  The artistry with which the food is presented is something to learn from, and it again proves that organic does not need to equal dirty and poorly-displayed.









At the end of the market was a man making potato galettes, with onions and some sort of cheese product.  I had two, which were delicious.  After wandering around a little bit, we headed over to the île de la cité so that burgerboy could repent for his gluttony at Notre Dame.  Before that, of course, we needed to eat a little bit, so we had a pit stop at berthillon for some vanilla ice cream and a nutella banana crêpe.  Why not, right?


A couple of hours later, we found ourselves in the marais.  The Rue de Rosiers means only one thing: falafel.  More specifically, l’As du Falafel.  I had been there before, but it was burgergal’s first time.  She was suspicious, despite all of the positive press that she had seen and the myriad of blogosphere mentions.  However, her fears were allayed when she saw that Lenny Kravitz had given the place his stamp of approval.


L’as du falafel was tremendous, as I had remembered it.  The crunchy falafel balls were small and perfectly fried, nestled in a fresh pita with heaping handfuls of cabbage, eggplant, and tahini.  It’s nothing like any other falafel that I have had here in NYC.  It’s tremendous.  Check it out.  Trust me.  Let me also mention that it was about 4pm, and we had 8pm reservations at Senderens for dinner.  Yeah.  It’s worth it.


Then we walked over to the 1st arrondissement, to get some French macaroons at the Ladurée located on the Champs Elysées.  The place was a madhouse, but we walked away with a variety of French macaroons in a variety of flavors (lemon, red fruit, vanilla, chocolate, caramel, pistachio).  These little guys were going to get devoured at a later time, however since it was time for dinner (!).



And on that note, I will stop myself again.

I'm feeling pink inside.

It’s Wednesday today, and that means one thing– farmer’s market day!

Today I decided to go for anything at the market that provides an illusion of some sort.  I was feeling mischievous, what can I say?

First, I stopped by Samascott Orchards to pick up some apples.  I got those scarlett rose apples that Uberchef got last week.  I have not tried one yet, but as I said, I’m all about the trickery today.

I’m going to be doing some cooking this weekend at a family event, so I picked up some bok choi at Lani’s Farm, which was formerly Yuno’s Farm.  They have pretty good bok, although some of their items are a little overpriced.  I also got some romanesco cauliflower, which was just too trippy and weird-looking to pass up.


Not sure what I’m going to do with them, but it’ll be tasty.  I also picked up some watermelon radish, just because they look cool on the inside.  Check it out.  These things are absolutely radiant inside.

Then I stopped at Maxwell’s farm to pick up those sun-gold’s I’ve been raving about.  They have been getting a bit iffy, so I bought a mix of baby tomatoes.  I think it might be some of the season’s last.  I also got some chives, because I plan on making some pork dumplings this weekend (and you know this will be documented).

Ronnybrook, where were you?? You weren’t at the party today.  Come back.  I love you.

After the market, UC and I walked back to Onya for a little udon action.  Right at the front the udon dude was pulling the noodles out of the machine and dusting them with flour.

IMG00017-20091014-1259 Went with the sanuki again, which looks the best of everything I’ve seen there.  I got some chicken and mixed vegetable tempura, both of which we pretty solid.

IMG00018-20091014-1304Perfect lunch.

Fall has arrived.


The weather has turned slightly cooler, and the air is crisp.  Fall has arrived, and it’s time to enjoy all of the splendor of the fall fruits and vegetables popping up at the farmer’s markets.  Of course the root vegetables are coming out in full force, but all sorts of cabbage and squash are making their appearances, and apple season is officially upon us.

At the market yesterday, I picked up some Ronnybrook yogurts (duh), and a few apples from the Terhune Orchards (jona mac and gala).  Next to the Ronnybrook stand has been the Sun Fed beef people, and they’ve been selling hard.  Uberchef and I went in halfsies on a couple of pounds of ground beef, which is going to be used in the bloggingforburgers ground beef taste test, to be scheduled for later this fall.  Their beef is grass fed and grain finished, depending on if it’s a heifer or a steer, and I’ve got high hopes.

I also picked up some sun gold tomatoes.  I’ve been obsessed with these things lately.  They are the sweetest tomatoes that you will ever find, and they are perfectly firm yet with a tender skin that pops in your mouth like a ripe grape.  I’ve been simply splitting them in half with a generous glug of extra virgin olive oil and a splash of balsamic.  Maybe a few rough-chopped leaves of basil and you’re golden.  Like a sun gold tomato, yuck yuck.

I also picked up some brussel sprouts from the Rexcroft Farm, since they’ve been staring me in the face for two weeks now.  They are sold fresh onthe branch (is that a branch, is it a root?).  I’m looking forward to roasting these guys with some oil/s/p and calling it a day.  Gotta love the fall.


My other purchases were not very exciting, so not worth getting into details.  I have decided that my second bo bo chicken (the silky chicken) will be finding its way into a braised dish at some point in the near future, so keep an eye out for him.

Uberchef also made a unique purchase o fa scarlett rose apple, drawn mostly by the “PINK FLESH!” sign that was positioned behind the bin of them.  Apparently it tasted like an apple, but it looked crazy!  It’s like a Dr. Suess apple.


Other than that, I’m getting ready to ship off to gay Paris in a couple of weeks.  I’ve already got my scarves and skinny jeans out, so I’m ready to go.

It's time to go to burger school.

Self-taught burger school that is.  I consider it to be like my GED.  I have no formal training in the art of hamburger making, but I read about them a lot and I enjoy eating them even more.

I was inspired by this post on AHT, which, by the way, is the first post to show up on Google if you google “Minetta Tavern Burger.”  Those guys are good.  Damned good.  I want their SEO agency to work for b4b.

So I decided that I was going to do my own photojournal of me making a burger.  Sounds simple enough, but it’s actually kind of a PITA.  Making sure the lighting is right, getting the camera all set up, prepping, cooking, focusing, pushing the button, making sure my hair looks good even though my head is nowhere near any of the shots, the list goes on forever.

So, without further adieu, I present the bloggingforburgers photojournal, dated September 27th, 2009.  I know, the post is being written on September 29th.  Sue me.

The Day prior: Union Squre

Burgergal and I had to hit up the Union Square Farmer’s market to gather the essential supplies.  And take some pretty pictures.

Oooh, pretty.

Oooh, pretty.
Also pretty

Also pretty

You guessed it-- pretty!
You guessed it– pretty!
Pretty and cool.  They look like little watermelons but taste nothing like a big watermelon.
Pretty and cool. They look like little watermelons but taste nothing like a big watermelon.  They are little cucumbers.  And magic.

Come to think of it, I didn’t take any pictures of the supplies that I needed for the burgers.  This is probably mostly because I didn’t need them from the farmer’s market.  I just wanted to show off how sensitive and artsy I am through the camera lens.  I know what you’re thinking.

Yes, I am perfect.

Oh, but guess who I finally got to see again!!  Yeah, my boys from the Ronnybrook Farm.  Whatup!


Walked over to Ottomanelli to get some fresh ground chuck.  I know that bloggers in the ole blogosphere have mixed thoughts about Ottomanelli, but I am a fan.  They always do right by me when I head over there.  I got about a pound, so that BG and I could rock a couple of half-pound burgers, just like Minetta does.  Yes, I do have a weird obsession and want to do everything just like Minetta Tavern.

BG walked over and picked up a bag of brioche buns for the beefy perfection that I was going to be cooking up on the griddle.

I made two patties, loosely packed, and generously seasoned them with salt and pepper.


Then i threw them on the griddle, which I think is the best place for burgers to be cooked– otherwise, you don’t get an of that crispy exterior and you don’t get any of that sizzlin’ action.  Speaking of…


Minetta uses clarified butter- I used just the regular kind.  It worked pretty well.  I overcooked the burgers a touch, but they were still solid.


Don’t they look fake?

By the way, got wind of a potential trip to Minetta in my future (two weeks, actually).  You KNOW what I’m getting.

It feels good to Bayless.

Courtesty of

Courtesy of

Sustainable food sources took center stage at a chefs collaborative event over the weekend out in Chicago.  Rick “i’m the mexican man” bayless rocked out the mic with hard-hitting talk about sustainability in the food industry.  Ok, his talk wasn’t so hard-hitting (I mean, come on, you’ve seen the guy), but he had some great points about sustainable food sources and the progress that needs to be made in order to make this the way that Americans can eat.

As I’ve been saying, locally produced small-scale farming is the wave of the future– everyone has pointed to indepdendent business as the only way to get the economy jump-started again.  What better industry that the one that can jump-start the workers, too?

Anyway, check out this article, and hit the greenmarket this week.  BB can’t go this week, because of the UN General Assembly.

By the way, I did some serious eating this weekend, and as uberchef mentioned in his post, I’ve got more damage to do tonight.  Next up, fried chicken!