Pie: It’s not just for dessert any more. Handmade sweet and savory pies are set to arrive in Greenpoint this June when Pie Corps, a darling of the greenmarkets, sets up shop on Driggs Avenue with seasonally inspired pies sourced from local farms. These popular made-from-scratch pies were previously only available at the Hester Street and New Amsterdam Markets, or by order on their website. Continue reading
Awakening NY is a brand new yoga studio, spa and cafe serving seasonal, organic dishes. The 7,000-square-foot wellness center opened in Greenpoint/Williamsburg in May, but this isn’t your everyday studio: In addition to regularly scheduled classes, Awakening offers spa services and hosts workshops, weekend nature retreats and theme parties. Continue reading
Moments after arriving at the Brooklyn townhouse that is home to Clean Plates-approved Palo Santo, I was staring at a steep ladder: Chef Jacques Gautier was leading me to his rooftop garden.
We passed rabbits he breeds, stepped over aromatic herbs and one shaky step at a time climbed to reach the sunny rooftop. As Chef Gautier weeded the chives and pointed out where he composts organic waste, we chatted about the brilliance of tortillas made to order, volunteering with NYC schools and how the body craves what it needs. Continue reading
Before the hot and humid days of summer arrive, why not go outside for a breezy spring picnic? Pick up something healthy and delicious at one of the following Clean Plates-approved spots, grab a friend or two and celebrate the sunshine and these blissful spring temperatures. Continue reading
The evening before I spoke with Francine Stephens about her upcoming cookbook and plans for a new restaurant, an interesting tidbit caught my eye. Frank Bruni, the former New York Times food critic, tweeted about Clean Plates-approved Franny’s : “‘Salad’ doesn’t cover the arugula and mustard greens at Bklyn’s Franny’s. So fresh. So perfect. Love this place.”
In addition to serving up delicious pizza in their Prospect Heights restaurant – read our review here – husband and wife co-owners, Francine Stephens and chef Andrew Feinberg, have a real commitment to sustainable practices. Check out this page on their website to learn how they created an environmentally responsible business.
The menu at Franny’s changes every day; if you were to sit down and dine tonight, what you order?
I would need to have the spicy salami and the arugula, mustard greens, and chicory salad – it’s so fresh and perfect right now. Then I’d probably have the spaghetti cacio e pepe (spaghetti with cheese and cracked black pepper), a classic.
It’s a major talking point that you don’t cut your pies. Any comments?
They don’t cut their pies in Naples; pizza there is always served whole. We took our cue from the originators. I don’t think it’s so complicated: Here’s a knife, here’s a fork, do your thing. I will say though that in the last month we got larger, flatter plates that make it easier than ever to cut your pie.
Why do you think Franny’s has remained so popular over the years?
Our menu is honest to who we are and customers appreciate that honesty. I think the most important thing is that the experience is consistent. Customers know what they’re going to get every time.
I’ve heard about a cookbook and a new restaurant. Can you share any details?
It’s a large cookbook with amazing photography. Food from the book will be exactly like the restaurant: The recipes were incredibly well-tested. It is going to contain the best of the last eight years and include all sections of the menu. As far as what’s next for the restaurant, Franny’s is moving to a different location and we will open a new restaurant in the original space, Marco’s, focused on what my husband is interested in cooking now.
If you had to name one underrated dish you wish people would order more, what would it be?
The extra virgin olive oil and sea salt pizza. It’s all about tasting the dough.
Images courtesy of Franny’s.
Whether it’s your first date or your 500th, Valentine’s Day is a nice excuse for a weeknight out on the town. Throughout Brooklyn, chefs are preparing special meals for the holiday; here are some of my favorite options:
Farm on Adderley (Ditmas Park)
1108 Cortelyou Rd. (@ Stratford Rd.)
Even commitment-phobes can commit to a reservation at this farm-to-table favorite, which is offering two seatings (6:30 and 8:30 pm) for a three-course prix-fixe Valentine’s Day feast ($45/person, plus $22/person for beverage pairings). If planning ahead isn’t your strong suit, no problem – walk-in and dine off the regular menu. (Tip: grab a cocktail first — and pick up those flowers you forgot to buy — at Sycamore Bar & Flowershop a few doors down.) Continue reading
If there’s one season where watching our waistlines can slip, it is winter. Yet seasonal dishes can be packed with nutrients instead of calories – if you know where to look. Here are some of my favorites:
1. Nourishing Italian Stew
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
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