Michele Baldacci grew up in Florence as part of a family that made every meal fresh. As chef at Clean Plates approved Locanda Vini e Olii — an Italian restaurant in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn located in the former neighborhood pharmacy — Baldacci still creates every meal by using the best, seasonal ingredients available. Beyond this foundation of freshness, the chef aspires to expand diners’ horizons: “We aren’t serving safe food here,” he says. I recently sat down with Baldacci to chat about his vision for the restaurant, that famous duck dish, advice for home chefs and more.
How is Locanda Vini e Olii different from other Italian restaurants?
We want to expand the horizons of our diners. A restaurant that is part of the community can do that. We can serve one unusual or unexpected item, and once people trust us, they will continue to try new things. I don’t want to serve the obvious dishes, even though some of them I love to eat. We aren’t serving safe food here. I think it’s a great time to be serving food that can be somewhat unfamiliar — it’s getting easier to serve this kind of food. People are looking for things that are interesting and new, but still within a tradition they are familiar with.
Your duck entrée — grilled duck breast served with chickpeas and a shallot, fig marmalade — has gotten a lot of attention from the media. What’s the secret behind this dish? Continue reading →
You may want to pack a bib as you enter an “all-you-can-eat-and-drink” fest of local and organic foods and brews. Manhattan’s Jimmy’s No. 43 (one of Jared’s favorite BBQ standbys) will be serving up finger lickin’ good free-range hot wings and a succulent, hormone- and antibiotic- free, whole roasted ham leg. Wash it all down with Brooklyn Brewery’s own drafts, along with a plethora of organic/local brews Continue reading →
We get it. You like the idea of a CSA, but you’re just not ready to commit. You’re out of town a lot, and that restaurant bucket list is always growing.
Good news: the city that brought you FreshDirect and wine and cheese CSAs is making life easier for you yet again, with local CSAs that allow you to opt in on a weekly basis. Buy those peaches and ramps when you want them, and skip ‘em when you’re short on change, or overbooked for Restaurant Week. The result: groceries straight from the farm, when you want them — and when they won’t go to waste. Continue reading →
What: Enlightenment Wines Tasting Where:Eat in Greenpoint When: Sunday, January 29 at 5pm How much: $10
This Sunday, Raphael Lyon of Enlightenment Wines — whom we recently interviewed — is sharing his one of a kind wines at Greenpoint’s Eat. These wines are usually only available to Enlightenment’s CSA subscribers, and space at the event is limited, so email Lyon asap to RSVP. Continue reading →
Brooklyn Wok Shop seems poised to fill a gap in Williamsburg’s thriving dining scene after its grand opening on February 1st. Owners and married couple Melissa and Edric Har have pared down the standard American Chinese takeaway menu, focusing on essentials and upgrading them with quality ingredients and a few artisanal twists. Brooklyn Wok Shop’s food is affordable, MSG-free and full of ingredients Clean Plates loves: hormone- and antibiotic-free meat, local produce, filtered water and homemade everything, right down to the sauce and noodles. Edric knows a thing or two about finesse and quality in the kitchen; he earned his cooking chops at Le Bernadin, Veritas and Cru. Continue reading →
Imagine cashew milk as creamy as a milkshake, and almond milk that actually tastes like almonds. Vegans and dairy lovers alike will love Brooklyn-based OMilk, purveyors of delicious milks made from organic nuts. We recently chatted with co-founder Julie Van Ullen, who runs the company with her husband, Greg (the couple personally deliver their products to all five boroughs). Here’s an edited transcript of our email discussion:
Why did you decide to start OMilk?
(We found) store-bought versions (of almond milks) shockingly full of preservatives, stabilizers and other unspeakable things. So we started making our own and quickly became addicted to the creamy, nutrient-rich result that actually tastes of almonds. Continue reading →
What:Urban Beekeeping 101 Online Seminar When: January 22, January 29 and February 5 at 10am-1pm Where: On your couch, drinking a Bloody Mary (or green juice), we presume How much? $50
This 3-week online class from Brooklyn Homesteader “will cover the basics of urban beekeeping, honeybee anatomy and heirarchy, types of hives, how to acquire bees, how to start and maintain your colony, honey harvesting and winter management.” Continue reading →
Dining with strangers at an undisclosed location — not your typical night out, which is precisely the allure of a supper club. It’s no secret that this kind of underground dining is gaining momentum nationwide, and after a recent evening at Brooklyn Fork and Spoon supper club in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, I can see why. Continue reading →
As temperatures plummet, the allure of a restaurant with a cozy, crackling fireplace becomes impossible to ignore. Here are five NYC restaurants with fireplaces that are worth the trip on a cold winter’s night: Continue reading →
Your next cocktail purchase could be your next good deed.
Established in April 2011 by Brian Floyd, bartender at The Vanderbilt in Brooklyn, The Barman’s Fund is simple in nature, but huge in impact: good-willed bartenders throughout New York City pledge select shifts each month and donate every penny they make to various charities. Hence, the tagline: “Drink with Purpose.”
So far, The Barman’s Fund has raised just shy of $30,000 for a range of local charities. Continue reading →