Category Archives: Fromage

French For Real: La Cafette is Greenpoint’s newest authentic French resto

’Twas a Friday night like every other Friday night of late—for the last seven years. I brought my son to La Cafette at around 6:30 p.m. for dinner. The ambience is quite romantic, modern, simple and versatile. It’s perfect for girlfriends’ brunches, family dinners, and date nights.

Of course my Spider-man wanted to sit next to the window at a high-top table  but it was a chilly evening, so I insisted we sit further away from the restaurant’s entrance to offset any chance of him falling out of the open window on purpose. 

We sat down at a fabulously chic table and immediately felt warm and comfy. Two Shirley temples, two glasses of happy hour half-priced wine, one cheese plate, and a whole rotisserie chicken that comes with potatoes and mushrooms later, we were stuffed, satisfied and homeward bound. 

The cheese plate delivered some great options. A mild but flavorful goat, a memorable camembert, a moderate “French cheddar”—as our waitress said it was most like—and oh-so-stinky brie served with walnuts, a fruit paste (maybe apricot) and swoon-worthy slices of soft-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside baguette. We, or rather I, devoured it. 

Our waitress mentioned that the chicken would take 25 minutes. About 40 minutes later a show-stopping roasted chicken arrived at our table. Its skin almost perfectly crispy was seasoned well. Its meat was tender and soft but not juicy, just a tad dry. I appreciated its natural jus that enhanced the flavor of accompanying vegetables, but I yearned for more zing. 

We had an amazingly authentic and simple but delicious time at La Cafette. Going back for brunch soon—French toast with caramelized bananas! 

Photo by Ben Lei on Unsplash

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Ooo Baby I like it Raw or Not

The only time that stinky is sexy is when cheese is involved. Even the simple, local supermarket varieties of aged cheddar and smoked gouda can have mind-blowing effects when satisfying a 3 a.m. craving. The life-changing kind, however, that you finally uncover and say to yourself, “I could’ve been eating this all along?!”—yes fellow stinky cheese lover, I’m referencing Époisses—is available at one of the best Brooklyn cheese shops around, Stinky Brooklyn.

This Cobble Hill cheese lover’s paradise and specialty foods shop carries a few other cheeses that fit the bill—imported from France, stinky and oh-so runny—but Époisses is the epitome of French stinky and runny cheeses. If it were one of your college friends, Époisses would be the one most likely to get white-girl wasted and dance all over the place, while letting everything hang out. When I say everything, I mean all of its bold zest. About 200 years worth of unforgettable flavor, culture and incredible cheese-making tradition is packaged in a wooden, round and too small if you ask me box.

I knew that my beloved Époisses was hiding in the crowd of delicious-smelling cheeses in Stinky Brooklyn’s display case as soon as I walked in and smelled SB’s gourmet stink. It was the pleasantly pungent smell of grilled cheese, possibly Emmental or gruyere and sausages. Talk about a savory, mouth-watering, I’m finally where I belong aroma!

The gourmet grilled cheese smell was a nice distraction from my cheese mission: to find a perfect parmesan cheese for a holiday lasagna. After many tastings, the cheesemonger at the counter helped me choose the house parm—an aged parmesan cheese with an almost grassy undercurrent. It was unique, sharp and really satisfying to the palate. It was actually, the first parmesan cheese that I’d tried that day.

After choosing the right parmesan cheese—I know because my family raved about it—I wanted a secret stash of stinky cheese for me and me alone. I wondered about a Pierre- Robert triple creme cheese that I haven’t tasted in years. But when I asked instead for Époisses‘ basic description without saying its name, the cheesemonger said “We got you” with so much confidence that I knew I’d be taking home my lost love.

And so, I took it home with me that night and finished it the next day. I tried to hold out, maybe try it with champagne, but I had to have my Époisses right then. I could never get enough of it, so I’ll definitely visit Stinky Brooklyn again, in the near future, for lunch today, maybe.