Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween & Hurricane Eats

Remember last Halloween when I gave Elizabeth a jack-o-lantern Pez dispenser? Well, I decided she should get another one this Halloween. And funny enough, I found one that looks just like her.

Halloween Funfetti? Oh hell yes. 

It was not my favorite Funfetti, but it was still good.

And now some other things I ate over the last two and a half days. I heard late last week that the weather could be horrible, so I went to Target and got a few things, planning to stay inside for at least two days, preparing for perhaps more. I got a few frozen items that were inexpensive, thinking they would be easy to cook and if we lost power and had to throw them out, oh well. And then I got several things that required no refrigeration, like soup and rice. (As it turned out, we did not lose power at all so I only cooked a couple of the frozen items and none of the soup.) Here is what we ate:

I had leftover crawfish that didn't make it into the po' boys, so I threw together some nachos. Kind of sloppy, I guess, but I didn't really care: crawfish, mozzarella, corn, cilantro, and Tostitos tortilla chips with a "hint of pepper jack." With a squeeze of lemon and a little Trappey's hot sauce. They were nice.

I am not a fan of French-bread pizza, but Elizabeth is, so I gladly cooked one for her. (And I took a bite; it was better than I was expecting... but it's still not my favorite pizza.)

Lassen & Hennigs, a place I wrote about in August, actually stayed open both days. (Not full days, of course, but longer than anyone else.)

"Thank you so much for being open," I overheard a woman say to an employee.

"We have to feed Brooklyn Heights," the employee responded.

The place was packed, but they have their system down and it never takes too long. I got a sausage, scrambled egg and cheese breakfast sandwich for Elizabeth and myself to split, and some home fries. I put Sir Kensington's on my half of both.

Hey, sweet, you guys dropped some food... oh wait, it's just a flower. Damn. 

Elizabeth loves fried cheese. Loves it. So that was definitely one of the frozen items I picked up at Target. I made them as a snack for her, though she insisted I have some, too.
These particular sticks come with buffalo sauce, which I slathered all over a piece before dunking it into blue cheese as well.

"Do you think you used enough buffalo sauce?" she asked me.

Actually, I didn't.

So I dunked a piece in buffalo sauce, then blue cheese, then back in the buffalo sauce. Even better.

There was one Trader Joe's pita bread left so I made I myself a pita bread pizza with "Jersey Tomato Sauce." I have no idea what that means, but it was on sale at the store one day when I needed tomato sauce (and it was basil flavored). It was a good snack.

I picked up some turkey meatloaf at Lassen, too. I put two pieces in the oven, covered with ketchup, and baked them for about five minutes, just enough to heat them up. The meatloaf itself was delicious and I ended up removing it from the bread. The sandwich needed something else, like arugula or garlic mayo. But I couldn't really run out to the store - it was closed.

At any rate, our neighborhood escaped with very minimal damage. I hope everything is good with you, too. Have a great Halloween.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Teresa's Restaurant

Back in the summer of 2010, I first wrote about Teresa's. We were in Brooklyn on vacation and, after having heard for more than two years how great the potato pancakes are at Teresa's, I was eager to try them. They underwhelmed me. They were good, sure, but a little on the flabby side. No better than the Trader Joe's potato pancakes I make at home, and certainly not the best I've ever had. But that's how it sometimes goes when you're told for so long how great something is. Expectations are a bitch. (I will always remember the night for a different gustatory reason: it was the night I first met the Kustard King.)

So I left liking the place, but not thinking it was anything too special. Fast forward more than two years to this late summer, a cool day when potato pancakes sounded really good. They deserved another try, so we went to Teresa's. It was drizzling and we opted to sit inside, rather than the patio.

The photos I took of Teresa's menu were all bathed in a weird light that annoys me to look at, so I made them black & white. The menu contains a lot of traditional Polish favorites, as well as some diner classics.

And the interior of the restaurant looks kind of like a diner, or at least a very casual family restaurant. The service was very poor, though I think that was just our clueless waitress and not a reflection of the restaurant overall. (I noticed servers at other tables and they all appeared much more competent than the girl serving us; I could tell several stories but my favorite was when our entrees arrived and rather than walk four feet to my side of the table she handed mine to Elizabeth and commanded her to "pass that down.")

Do you like applesauce or sour cream with your potato pancakes? To be honest, neither would be one of my top choices. I like mustard. (Actually, I like A.1. cracked peppercorn steak sauce, but I've yet to see that at a restaurant.) But if I have to choose between the two, I'll take sour cream.

Now these were the potato pancakes that I'd been hoping to receive last time. Golden brown, crispy on the outside, fluffy inside. These might very well be the best latkes I have ever had.

"Are these better than last time?" Elizabeth asked.

"Much better," I replied.

She had a salad with a grilled piece of chicken, and she really liked it. I didn't try any.

I went with the meatloaf sandwich. At first bite it tasted a little bland, but with some ketchup and black pepper it livened up considerably. I really enjoyed it on the white bread and appreciated the two pieces piled together.

I also got an order of fries because, you know, the potato pancakes weren't enough fried potato to satisfy me. And I'm glad I did because these fries were an unexpected surprise: they were fantastic. They were very crispy but not at all overcooked. Imagine very thin Belgian fries. These are probably the third-best fries I have had in New York, behind Pommes Frites and the rosemary fries at Strong Place.

I will certainly return to Teresa's. It may only be to get fried potato items, but I see nothing wrong with that.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Football Eats 10: Crawfish Po' Boys

Each of the last three years, I have written about the Popeyes Crawfish Festival. They are some of the most popular posts I have written; I have told people that Popeyes crawfish are one of my top five favorite fast food items I have ever had.

But my days with Popeyes are done. I've been over it before, no need to rehash it here. When I saw the sign in the window, however, I had a strong craving. So I decided to make them myself.

I went to Fish Tales and picked up a container of crawfish tails.

Zatarain's shrimp batter served me well last time I made fried shrimp myself, so I used it again: a dunk in the liquid batter then a roll through the mixture.

The crawfish tails are already cooked, so they don't take more than a couple of minutes in the hot oil to brown the batter.

I still had some soft Martin's hoagie rolls left over from sandwiches I made the other night. These work perfectly.

I made the same remoulade that I did when I made fried shrimp two weeks ago: mayo, creole mustard, pickles, hot sauce, horseradish and chili powder. I slathered it on the roll.

Cool, chopped lettuce went on top of the remoulade.

And then the crawfish went on top.

I got a large pickle at a deli across the street and diced it around the edges (to reduce the amount of seeds) and soaked it in vinegar for a few hours for some extra sourness.

I added a healthy amount of the pickle pieces.

And then, for some slight heat and delicious pepper flavor, several shakes of my beloved Trappey's hot sauce.

I don't know if I can call these the best crawfish po' boys I've ever had. Actually, I know I can't. I love those slightly-crusty-on-the-outside rolls that you get with the best po' boys in the South. (This roll was good, but completely soft.) But damn these were still great sandwiches. The crawfish were great and the pickles, lettuce and sauce were tasty, cool foils to the hot, crispy crustaceans.

I wanted to try it with some additional heat, so I added pickled jalapeno slices to my second half of the sandwich. They made it even better. I wish I'd eaten the whole sandwich with these. Oh well. Next time.