Almost-Candy Apples

Finally, it’s that time of year again. For spooky and silly spider, bat, and black cat decorations. For expensive, itchy, and hot but oh so cute costumes. For BAM’s (Brooklyn Academy of Music) fun street party before trick-or-treating. And, time for candy, candy and more candy! 

Due to Character Day at school and spoiling my son, he gets two costumes. One that is a storybook character. (Last year he chose Sherlock Holmes because I was addicted to and binge watched the rather quite good TV show, Elementary.) And one for Halloween night, usually a vampire or Spiderman. 

Dracula and I, usually the queen of vampires, go trick—or-treating in our area. Of course, there won’t be any of that this year but there will be candy apples, as soon as I get that candy thermometer.

I knew before attempting this recipe that I should probably invest in one, but I couldn’t find one at our supermarket (only meat thermometers) so I thought that I could wing it and “see what happens.” 

Well, no hard candy happened. Only the almost-candy apples that were extremely sweet and dripping with gooey, ultra-thick and slides right off syrup. C’est la vie. 

It happens to the best of us. We make mistakes and we learn.

I still decided to post my mistake, because not only was it the sweetest one I’ve made yet, the apples didn’t come out half bad. 

My son enjoyed licking the candy off the apples the most, which I suspect, was his plan all along. It was a challenge keeping him away from the leftover “candy” in the pot.

My goal this weekend will be to rectify our candy-apple sich, by cleaning the wax off the apples with a mixture of a little vinegar and water so the candy sticks better, by using a candy thermometer to ensure that the syrup heats up to over 300 degrees, and by convincing my son to eat the apple, not just lick the candy. 

I’ll console myself that at least he’s eating something nutritious in addition to pure sugar.

Candy Apples 

Ingredients 
3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
Many drops of red food coloring 
2 tbsp maraschino cherry juice 
12 small red apples

Instructions
1. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray, then line with wax paper, then apply another coat of cooking spray.
2. Insert popsicle sticks (or whatever you have lollipop sticks, chopsticks, etc) into each apple and push about two-thirds through—be sure that you can safely pick up each apple, but sticks shouldn’t reach beyond the bottom.
3. In a medium heavy-bottomed pot over high heat, mix sugar, water, corn syrup and food coloring. Bring to a boil. Use a candy thermometer to ensure the syrup’s heat rises to above 300 degrees, which should take 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Add cherry juice to the mixture quickly.
5. Quickly and carefully dip apples into bubbly, very hot, liquid candy, and put them on prepped baking sheet. 
6. Allow perfect, shiny, and sweet apples to cool and harden. Share with your favorite superheroes and/or villains.

‘Shroom Love

When you work in magazine publishing, there are days you love. Two-hour lunch days. Down time days right after the close. Days you want to last for weeks but only last a day or two at most. Then the worry of the status of the next round of articles kicks in. You find yourself walking or running to the nearest café or deli. Hopefully, they make decent food that you can gobble down at your desk while working. 

One of these lunch stops, the very French-American Café Clementine, that I frequented was a neighborhood favorite that often sold out of specific items. Café Clementine got so many complaints from hangry customers over the often sold out items that they put their menu online before the lunch rush. 

Hallelujah. I could check to see if my favorite lunch from them was available. Ah Mushroom soup! I was always in the mood for its creamy, comforting and mild but unique flavor. I could taste the fantastic blend of earthy mushrooms, pungent garlic and sweet onions. 

The texture and taste of this soup never disappointed. I could eat this soup at my desk—in an open office plan—and still embody happiness as if I was celebrating Christmas in the Swiss Alps with a view of tallest snowcapped mountains while I sat by a lovely fireplace. 

Upon seeing mushroom soup listed on Café Clementine’s daily online menu, I’d sprint across Broadway at 11:30ish before it sold out for the day. The usual lunch window (12pm-2pm) was too late for this soup. 

Its light gray color didn’t look very appetizing but the flavor and texture more than made up for it.

When I made it at home the first time, my son called it prison food. The texture was too thick. I used too many mushrooms and too many spices and not enough broth. 

The second time with added arrow root powder and soy creamer was a winner. It’s not an exact replica of Café Clementine’s mushroom soup but it comes very close. Try the baked mushroom topping for an umami experience.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Magical Mushroom Soup

Ingredients 
2 tbsp oil for frying
1/4 cup onions, chopped
1 tsp butter
4 cups sliced mushrooms
3 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
A pinch of salt
1 tbsp arrowroot powder 
1/4 cup water or broth
1 heaping tbsp crushed garlic
A pinch of oregano
2 cups unsweetened dairy-free creamer (optional)

Instructions
1. Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Sautee onions till golden brown. Sprinkle with oregano.
2. Set aside onions and add butter and a little more oil if needed. Turn the heat up. Add mushrooms and let brown. Drain any excess water and return mushrooms to heat.
3. Add chicken broth, cooked onions and Worcestershire sauce. Let mushrooms simmer on low for 30 minutes or until tender.
4. Transfer mushroom, onion and broth mixture to a blender. Blend until mixture is pureed. 
5. Mix arrowroot powder with water or broth and add to blender. 
6. Add salt, garlic and oregano. Also add more broth or water if the mixture is too thick. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour in a mixing bowl.
7. (Optional) Add 2 cups of cream and gently whisk. This step will make the soup a bit light and airy and ready to serve.

Crispy Mushroom Topping 

Ingredients
2 large portabella mushroom caps, cleaned with a damp cloth and sliced thin
Oil for frying
Sea salt 

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
2. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and lay mushroom slices flat. Make sure they don’t crowd each other.
3. Brush mushroom slices with oil and season with salt.
4. Bake mushrooms for 15 minutes, turn and bake for another 15 minutes. Use more oil if needed. 
5. Remove from oven and let cool and crisp up.

The Rise of Chocolate Lava

There once lived a brilliant French chef in New York City. He created what he referred to as “simple cuisine,” but what was really spectacular classical French cooking that people all over the world applauded. He won accolades from top food critics, celebrities and the Michelin Star decision makers. One of his signature creations, originally a mistake, was the most decadent, sinful chocolate dessert that I’ve ever had: chocolate lava cake. 

Usually topped with a hefty sprinkling of powdery sugar, lava cakes aka molten cakes are often baked in 6 oz ramekins. These individual cakes come out of the oven extra cute. When you dig into the center…

The puffy, souflee-ish little cloud of chocolate loses its innocence and all of its secrets come oozing out. The rich, phenomenal flavor is unique. The texture is luscious. I’ve had it from the master chef himself Jean Georges in NYC during a birthday dinner—and at other restaurants a countless number of times—and thoroughly enjoyed it. 

I made the following chocolate lava cake recipe for my son and the rest of my chocoholic family. Although it was too “dark chocolate” for my LO, he ate most of it without provocation. Next time I’ll add a bit of almond milk or cream substitute to the chocolate. My sister, who’s been in love with chocolate since she was a toddler, loved it. Mom, who used to pay for and keep our fundraiser chocolate for herself, said the chocolate lava cake was a bit too rich for her but ate all of it as well.

I loved it too… the soft, spongey outer cake. The rich frosting-like center. The taste of really pure chocolate. I love the bitter undertones of real dark chocolate. Not many additives. I made it twice. The first batch was a little over and not as runny as I like them to be, but the second try was just right and all it took was to watch the baking time and take them out at 6 minutes exactly. The baking time depends on the size of the ramekins. 

Without further ado here’s an easy recipe for one of the best French desserts ever! Hope you enjoy it.

Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe 

Ingredients
½ cup butter, unsalted 
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 eggs 
2 egg yolks 
¼ cup sugar 
1 tsp angostura bitters (optional)
1 pinch salt 
2 tbs flour

Instructions 
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Butter and flour ramekins.
2. Melt butter with chocolate over a double broiler or in a microwave. Whisk until smooth and lump-free.
3. Preferably with an electric mixer, blend eggs, egg yolks, sugar, angostura bitters, and salt until thick and lemon-yellow pale.
4. Add melted chocolate and butter combo to egg mixture. Pour the batter into four ramekins and bake for about eight minutes. The baking time is dependent on the oven and the size of the ramekins. Tip: If the ramekins are smaller than 6 ounces, then a shorter baking time might work better.
5. Let the cakes cool in the ramekins for a minute before covering each with a dessert plate. Turn each one over, let stand for 10 seconds and then unmold. Top them off with powdered sugar and the most perfect chocolate cake is ready to enjoy.

Avocado Crevettes

Soho. Spring 2013. Still lives. Galleries. Gray skies. Fashionably depressed cars gloomily snail along. Bumper to bumper traffic. The chatterbox mouth of the Holland Tunnel. Maybe a week after the close—about six days of slow torture in the magazine publishing world. My talented friend. Me. The long three-block sprint from our company’s office to our lunch date venue, Wine and Flowers. 

Bursting with white and pink peonies, and wine bottles everywhere, Wine and Flowers was not just a pretty Soho French restaurant, prime for a two-hour lunch getaway. It gave us life after a storm of work. We walked in loving the quiet happiness, and chose the restaurant’s only table by the only window that faced the sidewalk and dreary buildings across the street. 

Two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc with avocado crevettes—avocados stuffed with shrimp and topped with an amazing, creamy saffron sauce—later, and we were fans of Wine and Flowers for life, or until our company moved.

I thought back on all the authentic French food I’ve tasted over the years, and avocado crevettes remains a clear standout. Why? 

1. I’ve always loved the mild, earthy creaminess of undressed avocados. Just a little sprinkle of sea salt and you’re good. What a perfect vehicle for flavorful, juicy shrimp!

2. The flavor and texture of the shrimp was just right. There is always something so elegant about seafood that has been cooked well. 

3. The creamy saffron Marseillaise sauce was unbeatable in taste, color and smooth consistenct texture. 

In the recipe below, I’ve tried to recreate the unforgettable Marseillaise sauce at Wine and Flowers, only afterwards finding an even closer recipe in the NY Times cooking section. Alas, the recipe below is authentic and includes super French ingredients: the ever popular and expensive saffron threads, cream or vegan cream substitute and a dry white wine. 

Share it with your girlfriends, sisters, moms, and anyone else who will appreciate nice, simple, southern French cuisine.

Avocado Crevettes Recipe 

Ingredients 
4 medium ripe avocados
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup minced shallots 
2 tbsp minced garlic
8 jumbo shrimp
1/3 cup white wine
2 tbsp tomato paste 
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp of sour cream*
Chopped mixed herbs: basil, parsley, thyme 
Sea Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
1. Peel and halve avocados and season with sea salt. 
2. Heat oil in a pan and lightly brown shallots. 
3. Add the garlic and cook till fragrant.
4. Cook shrimp till beautiful, golden brown.
5. Pour in the white wine and simmer for three minutes.
6. Add tomato paste, saffron threads, and season with salt and pepper.
7. Remove shrimp and finish the sauce with cream and butter.
8. Top each avocado half with shrimp and drizzle with creamy saffron, tomato sauce.

*I used a soy creamer with added seasonings as a substitute for the sour cream and it worked perfectly.

The World Needs (Vegan) Crème Brûlée

A crème brûlée experience is like no other. You’re in New York. Eating at a lovely (and expensive), New American restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan or an authentic (and not so expensive) French café in a converted brownstone in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

The appetizers and entrées were well done or barely cooked, whatever you prefer. Your friends and/or business associates are engaged in a deep conversation about politics. You’re interested and contributing to the conversation here and there, but you can’t help but wonder, ‘What’s on that dessert menu?’

Finally, you order the crème brûlée and it comes out beautiful, shiny, and appealing. You’ve never seen anything like it, have you? With hesitation to mess up its perfect, golden brown beauty, you break its candy crust, and soft Mozart violins start to play.

Tasting the burnt sugar candy is enough to make you grin like a child. But the sweet, silky vanilla cream is simply addictive. It’s a dessert of opposites. Hard and soft. Burnt and barely cooked. Deep and mild flavor. When you’re finished you ask yourself, who originated this loveliest of lovely desserts? And how am I the last one in the world to know about it?

According to my research, crème brûlée is derived from the Spanish Catalan cream, but the French has made it their own.

And, in turn, made me a fan of their cuisine for life! Crème brûlée one of the biggest reasons why I love French food. I may not be able to remember exactly the first time I had crème brûlée, but I’m sure that it was just like the amazing experience I described above, so much so that I had to have it if it was even an option.

Now I find myself missing fine dining and making crème brûlée at home. I made two versions: traditional and vegan.

My son craves a classic NY Times version—I’ve posted it on Frealthy. It’s a traditional recipe that is pretty much the same everywhere online: eggs, heavy cream, vanilla, sugar, and burnt sugar finish. 

Most of my family loves this vegan version—also posted on Frealthy—originally by namelymarly.com, which defies the need for eggs and heavy cream. It was easy to make but took a while to finish because the “cream” must set over night in the fridge to thicken. 

The vegan crème brûlée never really sets like the traditional recipe, at least mine did not—perhaps I should’ve used more cashews or arrowroot powder to make the “cream” a thicker and richer texture. But, nonetheless, it turned out fantastic in flavor and creaminess. 

Five Reasons to Fall for Carrots, Again

Lately, I’ve been craving carrots. They’re something I generally don’t crave or even think about, unless I’m having a dire, need-to-lose-five-pounds moment. (I have a carrot and celery temporary weight loss trick that works every time.) It’s surprising to me, that in the last two years, the healthiness and taste of carrots have been up for debate. Here are six reasons why I haven’t lost faith in one of the most underrated and versatile veggies of our time. 

1. It’s pure joy to watch and engineer the transformation of carrots into cakes, soufflés, fritters, salads and any other edible. There are so many fun ways to prepare them. 

Like at Olmsted, the carrot crepe that I woofed down in about five minutes was spectacular. Filled with other veggies and tiny seafood, it was a thing to be remembered and cherished. It was honestly one of the top seven dishes at a resto that I’ve ever eaten in my life. 

Or, like this carrot soup recipe, try it with or without the topping of caramelized onions, homemade bacon bits and scallions, for a creamy and satisfying start to a special occasion meal at home. Perfect for a birthday, anniversary or girlfriends’ brunch.

2. Carrot juice still gives the body a natural and powerful energy boost and a ravishing glow. 

3. The nutritional value of carrots—vitamins A, K, and C, calcium, beta carotene and fiber—promotes overall health and fights disease.

4. As they are one-third of a major French cuisine fundamental, the mirepoix (carrots, celery and onions), carrots have been a mainstay in fine and casual dining for centuries across the globe. Why give up on them now?  

5. They taste divine when you roast them with onions, garlic, fresh herbs and the protein of your choice. The smell that emanates when carrots are roasting is the ultimate ingredient that makes a home feel like a home. 

Parisian Potato Salad

Once upon a summer, my son—who was four at the time—and I traveled to the beautiful City of Light. Paris! 

It was magical by day. Jumping up and down on the second level of the Eiffel Tower as we tried to count the moving spots that were people, 115 meters down (377 feet). The panoramic view of Paris from Sacre Coeur. Fun kiddie rides at a makeshift amusement park in front of the Louvre. Macarons. Madeleines. Chocolate. Chocolate. And more chocolate!

It was magical by night. Dinner at a family restaurant with autographed pictures of Muhammad Ali. Champagne. Night views of the lit Eiffel Tower. Sweet French accents everywhere. 

But my goal of teaching my son why France and travel in general, is amazing and important is still and always will be a work in progress. 

He did fall for the food pretty hard though. We both loved the potato salad at a chicken shop in the food court of a shopping center. I know it probably sounds like a random thing to remember. But it was cheap, delicious, fresh and satisfied my craving for pickles. It was also very different from the American southern potato salad that I’ve eaten all my life. 

This Parisian potato salad was chock full of sweet onions, Dijon and grain mustard, and herbs and vinegar. I noticed that it was egg- and mayonnaise-less. But after two bites, I forgot about the missing eggs and mayo. I didn’t even miss the tangy and sweet—and ridiculously high in sodium—relish that I craved on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. 

I usually make potato salad the way my mom makes it, but I wanted to share this healthy French potato salad recipe because it’s a great tasting, low-calorie option. 

Try it as a satisfying and flavorful side dish for various summertime meals. BBQ. Fried chicken. Or, maybe just by itself with some grilled veggies.

Click here for my recipe for Parisian potato salad. Hope you enjoy it!

What We’ve Been Doing for the Last Five Months, Plus My Homage to Café Lafayette: Shrimp Fritters

For nearly five months of lock down, my family and I have enjoyed getting fat from eating too much soul food—not my mom because she eats like a bird and not my son because he loses weight as he gains it. He’s in the Ninja phase.

Also, on our list of quarantine activities are:

  • cleaning
  • fighting like Ninjas
  • completing online learning tasks (now the endless summer packet)
  • working from home
  • reading and watching the news
  • becoming addicted to the news
  • getting sick of the news
  • avoiding the news 
  • loving the videos and pictures of peaceful Black Lives Matter protests across the country

Of course, my all-time favorite activities are cooking, eating great food and hearing how wonderful my food tastes.

During the quarantine, I’ve made a bunch of new things. Among the best is a shrimp and sweet potato fritter. My love for the late, great, and quaint Café Lafayette’s shrimp fritters, inspired me to make it. 

Before the treasured Fort Greene spot, Café Lafayette, closed in 2017, my sister and I spent quite a few Sundays brunching in the living-room sized restaurant. Downing mimosas and Kir Royales. Listening to Nina Simone and other Blues notables. Regrettably sharing one chocolate lava cake, instead of ordering two. 

Café Lafayette was one of OUR places, which meant neither of us were allowed to bring anyone else there. We also agreed that the shrimp fritter—juicy morsels of shrimp laced with crispy shreds of sweet potatoes and carrots—was a remarkable, tasty and satisfying bite. 

My family loved my recreation of this shrimp fritter. Omitting the carrots, I added a bunch of other stuff to add flavor and to “French” it up a bit. It’s definitely lighter, moister and richer than I remember.

Try it and I think you’ll agree that it’s the kind of appetizer that takes the word “appetizer” to whole new level.

For the shrimp and sweet potato fritter recipe and more healthy, French cooking, check out Frealthy, a page for francophiles that love to cook.

Video by Melinda Wright.

Bitten by a New Beast: 6 Reasons You’ll Fall for Bar Bête

I love searching for French restaurants. It’s research I never tire of because I often find food that I can’t stop thinking about for days, or weeks, till I finally taste it.  

One particular evening that stretched till the next morning, because of the reason mentioned above, I found Bar Bête. This Smith Street French eatery opened late last year and quickly proved itself worthy of its bossy name.

What makes this French-foodie destination so beastly (in a good way)? Here are six reasons why you’ll be smitten with Bar Bête’s fine French cuisine at first taste.

1. A beautiful, glossy, and ebony bar. Bar Bête’s baby grand piano-type bar stands in the middle of the restaurant is a little more than perfect. I love an upscale, yet comfy bar. I would’ve actually preferred to sit there.

Instead, I had the pleasure of sitting at a table opposite the door. I didn’t get cold—thankfully, it was a nice night. 

Bar Bête’s superior execution of its menu, which consists of two short lists of shareable “snacks” and one short list of entrees, spurred reasons two through six. 

2. The Rolled Omelette with peekytoe crab and seaweed butter! Doesn’t it just sound mouthwatering?! Heavenly. Super delicate! Super moist! Ridiculously flavorful! A dish that I inhaled, or rather wanted to inhale and not share at all with anyone. Alas, I ended up sharing it but trust me if I could’ve inhaled it on sight, I definitely would have. 

It came out and it was lovely. A proud moment for us all. Me, for finally getting the chance to enjoy it IRL, after drooling over a few enticing pictures of it for weeks. The godsend chef who created this thing of a life-long dream come true. My dining partner for accompanying me to a French restaurant. Most people claim they don’t like French food but once they go to a genuine French restaurant, not just a convenient fast food chain around the city, they realize how amazing French food truly is. The Rolled Omelette is change your mind about French food good.

3. The mushroom brioche was a perfect balance of truffle and butter and flaky brioche pastry. It honestly was unlike any savory pastry I’ve tried. Packed with swirly sharp and intense flavor, I was sure that among its ingredients was gruyere, but no cheese is listed as a component on the menu. It was said that it was too salty. But I had nothing bad to say about this snack, in fact I thoroughly enjoyed and happily finished it.

4.  Imagine a French quesadilla and you’ll have a basic idea of the chickpea crepe. With gooey but mild fontina cheese married to herbs and swiss chard, I found the familiar zest of French fusion in this crepe. French and Italian cuisine is a fusion that’s so common that I hesitate to call it fusion. I’d prefer a substitution of a stinky brie—and a tiny bit of Dijon mustard—to underscore French authenticity. However, it’s a very popular item on BB’s menu.

5. The crust of the crispy fish, my entrée, was a crunchy and delicious envelope that held moist, flavorful fluke. I was grateful for this dish’s garnishments—grated lemon, creamy mashed potatoes and a small topping of greens.

6. There was no shortage of rave reviews for the smoked chicken at my table. Hence, the reason I didn’t get a chance to try it. Gone in three minutes. I thought I ate fast?! This dish replaced the aged duck dish on BB’s menu, which I really wanted for my entrée initially. Spinach and polenta and fig and onion confit, which probably created a sweet and tart coating/thin gravy of bursting flavor on the chicken. The quintessential French dish. I’ve had many dishes in my lifetime that are similar to this classically French, rustic meal that every French resto’s menu should feature. 

The Perfect Place to say, “Je T’aime …

Is here somewhere in these candlelit restos

Sweet Green Dreams

Lose yourself in the lit greenery at Endswell. Various plants outline the upscale, black and white rectangular restaurant. 

Showcasing the beauty of crowded diversity—perhaps a metaphor for Brooklyn itself—medium-, small-, and tiny plants sit atop the bar. A tree-hugging maximalist’s eye candy. Love them while sipping a well-done craft cocktail. Most of Endswell’s drink options include a veggie or fruit (or both) component. It’s hard to pick from a menu that looks good all over, but L’Orange, Rose, and Violet are on my list of must-samples. 

One artful, wild bouquet of spikey plants, with lights of all kind mixed in, doubles as a shout out to the kitchen counter it lines and an overall centerpiece to Endswell’s sexy space. Speaking of the kitchen, you’ll find classic French dishes with vegan options scattered throughout the something-for-everyone menu. Rave reviews for the Shrimp Mac n Cheese, the Raclette burger (Impossible burger available), and the seared scallops.

Endswell Bar & Bistro
endswellbk.com
929-276-3150

Experience the Experimental

When modern bistro Oxalis opened in late 2018, it quickly set the streets of Crown Heights on fire with talk of its unforgettable, Michelin-starred food and service. 

As derived from the name of a large genus of flowering plants with sour leaves, Oxalis serves tasting and a la carte menus that unexpectedly awaken your palette.  

Indulge in broccoli tempura with caramelized anchovy, soft and sensuous gnudi, melt-in your-mouth roasted duck with sweet potatoes, goat milk with honey and thyme, along with any other Oxalis menu item you think might be spectacular. It probably is.

As for the ambience, the garden room is proposal pretty with string lights and hanging plants. The plain-Jane main dining room sets the stage for the true star. Let Oxalis’s food create your mood for evergreen love.

Oxalis
oxalisnyc.com
(347) 627-829

A Lust-worthy Omelet

For the last few days, I’ve lusted after Bar Bete’s rolled omelet. Its pictures are insanely mouthwatering to me. The peeky toe crab filling looks tender, fresh and succulent. The egg looks moist, soft, and buttery instead of overcooked, dry and tasteless, as a lot of restaurants and home cooks prepare.

I tried to stop lusting after it but ended up talking a friend into joining me for a classic French dinner at this newcomer, date-worthy hot spot. Bar Bete’s interior design reminds me of a baby grand piano. A super glossy black bar, the walls and the ceiling are all black with rounded square arches, poses in the middle of the restaurant. While caramel seating paired with black and gray marble tables and creamy walls in the other “rooms” complement the sleek, art deco bar. 

Although the lighting and the view is perfect, great execution of Bar Bete’s French menu is the reason for its early success. Well, Bar Bete is actually Canadian French, which in some cases—think of the richness of Poutine—is even more sinfully decadent. Crispy duck fat potatoes, mushroom brioche, rolled omelet, crispy fluke and aged duck are some of my Bar Bete must-tries.

Bar Bete
barbete.com
(347) 844-9950

Stalwart Appeal

After five years of excellence, my L’Antagoniste—I’ve eaten there seven times easily—is still a top Bed-Stuy choice for intimate date nights or small group meetups.  

Its sweet, unoffensive brick exterior is charming. But once you enter L’Antagoniste’s provocative interior, you realize a much more interesting story is being told. The art nouveau-ish black and white photos of French artists that cover one entire wall is a political statement. Even if it’s been done before, it still feels original, passionate and fresh.

The cuisine you experience at this classic French resto expresses that same originality, passion and freshness. I’m sad that the cheese souffle is retired, but happy that some favorites are still in rotation. The Hudson Valley foie gras, the salmon a l’oseille, and the orange duck have always been great options.  

L’Antagoniste
lantagoniste.com
(917) 966-5300

Photo by Gabby Orcutt on Unsplash