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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fonda (Brooklyn 2 of 12)

Continuing our monthly dinners, last Friday, we visited Fonda in nearby South Park Slope. This is on a great block with beer table, Grab, and nearby to Grumpy. So if there's a wait, you have great options.

Truth be told, Fonda was the 12 seed on our list. We've been eating and making a lot of Mexican food from Rick Bayless & Diane Kennedy books and so were probably seeking out (subconsciously) a Mexican option. I could tell SOS wasn't very excited.

Of course, she asked if I made reservations. Of course, I said, "It's a small ethnic restaurant in Brooklyn. I'm sure they don't take reservations for two." And of course - they do, the restaurant was full, and we did wait.

Fonda is a lovely space. The atmosphere is festive-relaxed. The music was just audible. And the lighting was romantic but we could easily read our menus.

Overall, the food was fantastic. We were surprised, delighted, and sated.

We ordered the guacamole, fish salpicon, carne asada, enchiladas mole oaxacequeno.

Guacamole was very nice; it was of the chunky, straight-forward variety (nearly all avocado), served with these thick, pliant housemade corn tortillas. The tortillas were fantastic.
Fish Salpicon was delicious and the only dish that felt tiny. In a small bowl (think smallest pyrex you have at home), we received chopped fish that had been breaded and fried, combined with cilantro, red onions, and maybe vinegar. This dish also came with those tortillas. A little salpicon on a tortilla - it was fantastic and something I've been thinking about since - how will I recreate that at home (I think so much depends on those homemade slightly chewy tortillas that I probably will not.)?

Carne Asada was outstanding. The classic skirt steak came on a creamy, piquant, smoky mystery sauce and wild mushrooms. The meat was moist, flavorful, and right-sized. The sauce was so good that if I had any of those tortillas, I would have try to sop up every last bit.
Mole Oaxacqueno was equally outstanding. Shredded dark chicken meat and sauce filled three enchiladas and then the sauce covered, melted cheese, and a healthy dose of cilantro. The sauce was tremendous. Too often moles taste too chocolatey (as if the kitchen is trying to prove they have chocolate) or too powdery (from not cooking the dried chiles long enough). This sauce had neither problem. It was deep, rich, slightly sour, and savory.

SOS drank the white sangria and I had the hibiscus margarita. Both were fine; the re-hydrated hibiscus was beautiful but there wasn't much flavor imparted by it.

Overall, we'd go back to Fonda in a heartbeat. While we really dislike the F train, we'd recommend (if you don't live nearby) braving the beastly train to eat at Fonda.
($95 total for 2 appetizers, 2 drinks, and 2 entrees)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

January Cocktail - The Old Fashioned


The Old Fashioned may be the oldest cocktail. There are dozens of recipes, typically the drink calls for:
  1. whiskey
  2. sugar
  3. bitters
  4. citrus twist
I made the Old Fashioned about 15 times in January. At the end of the month, I came to a few preferences:
  • Rye over Bourbon - less sweet
  • Grapefruit bitters over orange - less sweet
  • Angostura bitters are important but in small amounts
So my "official" Old Fashioned is simple to make, but takes some time (perfect for finishing touches on dinner).

Ingredients:
  1. 1 1/2 oz. Rye (I used Old Overholt)
  2. 1 demerra sugar cube
  3. 1 strip orange peel (no white part, orange variety didn't matter)
  4. 1 dash Angostura bitters
  5. 3 dashes grapefruit bitters (I used The Bitter Truth)
Recipe:
  1. Add sugar cube, orange peel, bitters to glass
  2. Mash significantly
  3. Add rye.
  4. Leave alone for 3-5 minutes (allows for the sugar to dissolve)
  5. Stir
  6. Add ice
I often left the ice to melt for a few minutes and found the diluted water improved the drink a bit.

A COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH

In a spirit or mood to try cocktails out at home, I'll be experimenting with different cocktails throughout the year. My (insignificant) goal is 12 cocktails, roughly one per month. Recipes and thoughts to come.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Good Fork Visit (Brooklyn 1 of 12)

There are plenty of sites that review each dish and photograph the food. I won't bother adding to that.

On Friday, the sweetest-of-sweethearts (aka SOS, aka my wife) and I visited The Good Fork in Red Hook (Brooklyn). Red Hook on Friday, January 28, was a snowy and desolate place, complete with man-eating puddles.

Good Fork is pretty nice. To us, the entire experience was on par with Flatbush Farm, probably not as good as The Vanderbilt.

I ordered a fine burger with salty tempura onion rings and SOS had a lovely piece of striped bass with root vegetables and soft farro (I think).

Five takes on the experience:
  1. I don't like when the wait staff needs 30 seconds to describe each special.
  2. I dislike when the wait staff doesn't tell me the specials' prices.
  3. Good Fork is very much a modern American restaurant. If there are Korean influences, they are subtle.
  4. I ordered a margarita. The drink - pretty tasty - was unwieldy as it arrived in an ice-filled pilsener glass.
  5. This is a nice little neighborhood bistro making good, not different, food in a comfortable environment.
To us, not worth two buses and some waiting, but not a bad experience.
$95 Total - 2 apps, 2 entrees, 1 cocktail