In the heart of Bed-Stuy Brooklyn, Greg Samuel opened Peaches Hot House. Mr. Samuel has a French culinary background and attempted to duplicate the southern style Nashville Hot Chicken. In fact according to him this is the only place north of Nashville to get this specific Southern Fried Chicken style.
I have to admit I was slightly nervous to venture into the ghetto of Bed-Stuy (considering I go to Brooklyn about 2x/year this was a stretch) but figured if there was any place to get some legit hot chicken, this was it.
The bartender and waiter were both incredibly friendly and made us feel right at home. The place itself is fairly small (probably around 10-15 tables) in a square room. There is no entranceway so once you step in the door you are in the middle of the dining room.
At the start of the meal invidvidually wrapped servings of warmed corn bread are served. I was glad there wasn’t a basket on the table and was restricted to one slice.
We left our appetizer choices up to the waiter and he suggested the Fried Green Tomatoes and Barbecued Shrimp.
The Fried Green Tomatoes were cornmeal crusted, deep-fried and covered with two pieces of smoky crispy bacon, salad and drizzled with a BBQ Aioli. They were perfectly crispy on the outside with a tart and juicy inside. They are by far the best Fried Green Tomatoes I have ever had. The breading stayed on the slices and tasted great.
The barbecued Shrimp were just as good and served with crispy grit cakes. I am not a grits fan but these fried squares were surprisingly satisfying.
Now on to the chicken: it comes out on top of a thick slice of Challah bread with pickles and your choice of side. All three of us ordered the chicken with different side dishes so I got to try the Bacon Creamed Corn, Collared Greens and Mashed Potatoes (all of which were awesome).
The chicken is marinated in onion powder, salt, pepper, seasoned flower, a few other spices and then tossed in your choice of spice rub (Regular, Hot or Extra Hot). The chicken is then dipped in buttermilk, deep-fried for about ten minutes and once again seasoned with the spice rub.
The waiter let us know that the chili powder is made out of three different peppers but the only one he would disclose is Cayenne. Two of us opted for the Hot while one ordered the Extra Hot. I think there was a HUGE variation in the amount of spice between the Hot and the Extra Hot. The two of us that got the hot both felt like ours could have been spicier but my friend that ordered the extra hot had to endure food sweats for the entire meal. I think it is a building heat because I had a few bites of the Extra Hot and didn’t think it was inedible or break a sweat. The chicken was cooked great and was flavorful but my major complaint is that ALL of the heat is in the skin. If you remove the skin you are left with a moist regular tasting piece of chicken. The waiter did address this and said they were actively experimenting with different rubs and marinades to have the spice depth go throughout and not just on the skin.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Peaches, it is a great spot for a genuinely comforting good home soul food dinner with friends. Momofuku Noodle Bar continues to be my favorite choice for fried chicken but Peaches is well worth the trip outside of Manhattan.
Friendly and welcoming staff
Delicious choices for sides and apps
All mains under $20
Authentic Soul Food
HUGE difference in heat between Hot and Extra Hot
Overall Rating: 4/5 Stars--DBlock
Christmas Eve (along with every Sunday) is yet another time I treasure the gift of being Italian. Traditionally, on Christmas Eve we enjoy a seven-course meal consisting of all fish dishes. The fish courses range from Calimari to Scungelli to Baccala (salted Cod). This is a tradition that traces back to Southern Italia. There are many reasons cited for the Seven types of fish (number of sacraments in the Catholic church and other religious reasons) but I never cared much about the official reason, to me it just means the best meal of the year.
This year we started with an Antipasto – three different types of cheeses, roasted red peppers, mushrooms and olives. The antipasto was served with a homemade sausage bread.
From there we moved on to three of the fish dishes:
-Baked Clams Casino (fresh oven roasted clams topped with roasted red pepper, two thin strips of crossed center cut non-cured Sunday Bacon, and finally, with parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice).
-Shrimp wrapped in Pancetta with a white wine sauce. This was a really simple recipe that I recommend trying at home as an appetizer. Thirty-Six Fresh Shrimp, de-veined and cleaned, wrapped in thin sliced Pancetta (secured with a toothpick) and cooked in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil and white wine.
-Bite Sized Mini Crab cakes breaded and cooked to a crunchy outside, yet moist on the inside perfection.
For the two main courses we moved on to a filet of sole dipped in a parmesan egg wash, and then into freshly made breadcrumbs with Italian Seasoning. The filet was then pan fried to a golden brown. The filets were crunchy on the outside and tender and flaky on the inside.
The second main course was meant to be a pasta dish that used four lbs of small cockle clams. The clams were purchased live from a local store and we cleaned and shucked them that night. The dish was simple, delicate and incredibly delicious. We steamed the clams open in a pot with garlic, red pepper flakes, olive oil, white wine and about a tablespoon of tomato paste to make a light Fra Diavolo sauce. Coincidentally, we decided not to cook the pasta that went along with the clams as we were less people than usual and were already full. I still ate about 30-40 clams.
You will notice that this year, as much as it pains me to say, we strayed from the seven fish rule. In years past the two additional types of fish would have been a mix of fried calamari and scallops, or mussels in pasta.
We finished the meal with coffee/tea and Christmas cookies. I went to bed that night not only eager for Christmas morning, but also with a great sense of pride in my Italian heritage & traditions, and hungry for two more fish dishes.--DBlock
This season brings some strong ties to NY restaurants and chefs. Ties Include Jean-Georges; Buddakan; Eric Ripert & Le Bernardin; Morimoto. Full details below:
Season 8: All Star Chef-testant ties to New York:
Angelo Sosa: Early in his career, he met Jean-Georges Vongerichten who became his mentor, and went on to work for him at Jean Georges, Dune, and Spice Market, where he served as Executive Sous Chef
Opened and owned sandwich shop Xie Xie for a short time but it was closed in Oct of this year
Angelo also consults on the menu for Buddakan
Michael Isabella: Has worked in many fine dining restaurants in NYC that are not revealed on Bravotv.com (I did some research but also did not find him linked to any of our restaurants).
Jennifer Carrol: Acted as sous Chef at Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin prior to competing on Top Chef
Personally selected by Ripert to lead 10 Arts Bistro & Lounge, located in The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia
Jamie Lauren: originally from NYC & attended CIA
Richard Blais: Native New Yorker currently resides in Atlanta, GA
Spike Mendelson: Spike worked as the chef de cuisine at NYC hotspot restaurant, Mai House, which was named as one of The New York Times’ top ten best restaurants during his tenure.
Trained with the Maccioni Family at Le Cirque.
Dale Talde: In 2005, he moved to New York City to open Morimoto with the Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto
Current Chef de Cuisine at Buddakan
Stephen Asprinio: Trained under highly acclaimed chefs such as Morimoto Masaharu at Nobu,
Graduated from the CIA and Cornell University
Owns New York City based hospitality firm, S.A. Hospitality Innovations
Plans on opening a NYC restaurant venture in 2011.
Delayed a week for this post but great episode. I’m a kid at heart and would love spending a night at the Museum of Natural History
New York Spot: Museum of Natural History
Quickfire: Night at the Museum Sleepover. Make a midnight snack for 150 kids.
Guest Judges: Joe Jonas (really Top Chef?)
Katie Lee: Host of the first Season
- Spike: Carrot Chips and Marshmallow/Marscapone Dip
- Tiffany: Chocolate Moon Pie (spin-off of a rice krispy treat ball) WINNER
- Tiffany: Coconut Rice Pudding
- Chocolate Coconut Corn Bar with Coconut Milk
- Stephen: Snicker Doodle Sandwich
Elimination Challenge: Create a breakfast inspired by a dinosaur’s diet for kids and parents that are spending the night at the Museum
Dale & Mike Fresh Corn Grits, Stewed Peppers, Salsa Verde
WIINNER: Marcel, Richardo & Angelo: Banana Parfait with Seasonal Fruit, Tandoori Maple
Carla & Spike: V9 Gazpacho with Fruits & Vegetables
Fabio & Stephen: Potato Gnocchi with Leeks, Spinach & Mushrooms
Antonia & Tiffany D: Mini Frittatas Bacon & Cheedar; Ham & Cheese Chervre
Tre & Casey: Salmon with Shrimp, Apple & Smoked Bacon Sauce
Jen & Jamie: Braised Bacon & Hardboiled Eggs
Dale L & Tiffani F: Steak & Eggs with Hollandaise
Packed Knives: Jennifer Carrol
Pissed she was one of my favs and I think that’s because she grew up in the Le Bernardin kitchen
Dishes I most wanted to eat:
All of the kids dishes for the Quickfire looked either way to sweet or cheesy
Potato Gnocchi with Leeks, Spinach & Mushrooms
Braised Bacon & Hardboiled Eggs--DBlock
With the premier on December 1st, I thought this was a perfect time to revisit one of my favorite Foodie shows of all time, Top Chef. Season Eight: Top Chef All-Stars has returned to New York City. New York, the “culinary capital of the United States,” has always been an integral part of the show. Many contestants and guest judges have tried their best to succeed in New York City or have come from NYC to make a guest appearance. Season Five was the last season to be filmed here. Over the next several weeks I will be posting a season by season overview of New York’s involvement in the show with a recap of the week’s episode. Today I start with the hosts & judges of Top Chef All Stars.
Padma Lakshmi: I met Padma at a Rangers game which gives me reason to believe that she is a New York resident but I could not find any documentation proving it.
- Born in New York City and current resident
- He studied at Vassar College and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America
- Linked to heading kitchens at New York City’s Supper Club, One Fifth Avenue, and Sullivan’s
- Currently the executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles
- Currently resides in NYC
- Trained in the kitchens of legendary Le Cirque and Vong restaurant
- Contributed to Chef Daniel Boulud: Cooking in New York City cookbook
- Colicchio cooked at prominent New York restaurants such as The Quilted Giraffe, Gotham Bar & Grill, Rakel, and Mondrian prior to opening his own flagship NYC multiple star restaurants
- In July of 1994, Colicchio, along with partner Danny Meyer, opened Gramercy Tavern
- Craft, one block south of Gramercy Tavern was opened one year later in 1995 (one of my top five NYC Restaurants)
- Later on he opened the sandwich chain, ‘wichcraft (14 New York City locations)
- Tom opened Colicchio & Sons in New York in January 2010
- Most recently he opened Riverpark in October 2010
Episode One Recap:
New York Spot: Russian Tea Room Kitchen
Quickfire Challenge: chefs from each season work as one team to make one dish representing their host city. All members of the winning team, Chicago Season 4, received immunity.
- Season 3: Pork Tenderloin with Avocado Lime Puree
- Season 4: Chicago style hot dog Pork & Black Pepper Sausage with Mustard Ice cream (winner)
- Season 6: Las Vegas Bucatini with Lobster Carbonara
- Season 1: San Francisco made a Cioppino Gazpacho with Sourdough
- Season 2: LA Shrimp tacos with Guac & Apple Wrapper
- Season 5: NY Trio of Apple
- Season 7: DC Crab cake Essence with Rock Fish
Main Challenge: “Turn the dish that sent you home a Success”. GENIUS.
- Spike: frozen scallops
- Jamie: Eric Ripert’s fish dish
- Angelo: Ramen dish (winner)
- Fabio: Crawfish & Crab Pasta
- Stephen: Lobster, oyster, crab appetizers
- Elia: steamed fish dish
Dishes I most wanted to eat (and not just because they were the winners):
- Chicago team’s Homemade Sausage with Mustard Ice cream
- Angelo’s Ramen with Sweet Glazed Pork Belly & Watermelon
Packed Knives: Elia--DBlock
This morning we went to Penelope for a nice little Saturday brunch. Typically we can’t get our acts together for brunch until somewhere around 1130-1pm. After an early 9am wake up time we headed to Penelope around 1040am. When we got there we told it would be a 45 minute wait. Their estimates were about accurate and we sat down at 11:30pm.
The price fixe brunch selection was fairly limited about 8-10 choices Including Nutella French Toast, Spinach Pie, a build your own omelet option and pumpkin waffle. I decided on the BBLT (double bacon BLT) with the addition of an egg over easy. My friend went with the Stuffed Nutella French Toast.
The BBLT was more like a regular BLT I didn’t notice any extra bacon. It came with a black pepper mayo and fresh cut skin on French fries. The sandwich was on toasted thick cut sourdough bread. Definitely an enjoyable sandwich and I was a fan of the added egg & bread choice but I don’t know that it was worth the 45 minute wait. The French fries had good flavor but I prefer a crispy fry and these were a little soggy.
The Nutella French Toast on the other hand was phenomenal. I don’t like sweets so I’m not sure I would be able to finish an entire order but the bite I had was melt in your mouth delicious. The French toast is served with a generous portion of fresh fruit (blueberries and strawberries).
We ordered sake bloody marys which were good and made with fresh horse radish (my preference). I didn’t notice a difference between this bloody and regular vodka BMs.
What to expect:
A fairly limited price fix brunch menu
Long wait times
Alternative brunch cocktails (apple cider mimosa, sake Bloody Marys)
Spending about $20/person
Pleasant Waiters & Good service (I liked that we weren’t rushed while trying to decide what to order).
A very well written menu (everything sounds delicious)
Overall Rating: 3.5/5 stars
(I docked overall rating by .5 stars for long wait times)
What are your favorite weekend brunch spots? Let me know in the comments.--DBlock
Last week news hit local foodie blogs that Yasuda is leaving the city to move back to Tokyo and open an eight-person Sushi bar. Multiple blogs and the NY Times picked up Yasuda’s departure story.
A couple of months ago on an expense account I was asked to pick a place for a Sushi dinner. The task was simple – six people, no price range restrictions, date about a week away. After some research I picked Sushi Yasuda. Little did I know at the time that dining at Yasuda requires making reservations a month ahead of time. That week we ended up at Morimoto (check back for a future post covering my top five restaurants for more on this Iron Chef).
Fast Forward to a month later, cut a few people out of the guest list and I ended up at Yasuda with two colleagues. Even walking into Sushi Yasuda was an experience. I opened the door to enter the building and Will Ferrell was walking out! He ate two tables away from us.
Yasuda is the type of place where you gladly give up ordering privileges and hand them over to Chef Yasuda. Omakase or tasting menus of any kind are my favorite way to dine because the chef is in charge of giving you the freshest/best selections available. We relied on both our waiter and chef Yasuda to choose our meal and I was thoroughly impressed.
The best app was the cooked wild shrimp, served lightly fried with a tempura batter.
The sushi was impeccable, some of the freshest I have ever had. It was sized perfectly and we finished about 45 pieces of sushi between the three of us. The Uni, eel and yellowtail were all awesome, but the chu toro was melt in your mouth delicious and my favorite.
They did not offer freshly grated wasabi on the side. (Traditionally the chef is supposed to decide the proper amount of wasabi for each different piece of sushi).
Rating: Five/Five Stars.
It’s unfortunate Chef Yasuda is leaving us for Tokyo. I can only hope that Sushi Yasuda will continue serving traditional amazing sushi in his absence. He is leaving the restaurant under the guidance of his replacement, Mitsuru Tamura, who has trained in the craft for seven years.
Leave any of your thoughts on the new or old at Yasuda in the comments.--DBlock