Restaurant Norman at A/D/O in Brooklyn: My New Foodie Crush

Restaurant Norman at A/D/O in Brooklyn: My New Foodie Crush

 

Stumbled across Norman recently while checking out A/D/O – the creative workspace and start up accelerator funded by Mini/BMW in Greenpoint.

Had lunch there twice (amazing). And just got my reservation for their inaugural orange wine dinner series starting November 1.

Here are more details on the menu as well as background on Norman:

  • Norman is a contemporary restaurant, cafe, bar. It has a stellar in-house bakery.
  • Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Standouts on the menu include:
  • Buffalo milk yogurt (made in-house and absolutely sublime). It’s served with rhubarb preserves, sunflower seed granola and lemon verbena. Reminded me of the skyr yogurt panna cotta I had while in Iceland
  • Cured Salmon served on the most phenomenal Oland wheat bread bun (baked on-premise) and served with cream cheese and pickled beets
  • Slow Roasted Pork Sandwich with salted cabbage, pickled carrots, dijonnaise and again, served on their home-baked wheat bread bun (photo below)
  • The dinner menu is a bit more challenging but I’m intrigued to check it out.
  • The restaurant was conceptualized by Fredrik Berselius (owner/chef at Aska) and Claus Meyer (culinary entrepreneur, owner Agern and the Great Northern Food Hall in Grand Central Station, co-owner of Noma!)
  • Restaurant was designed in collaboration with nARCHITECTS and Christina Meyer Bengtsson (Claus Meyer’s wife)
  • Norman is centered around an open kitchen with a long marble bar, detailed tiling and soaring windows overlook Wythe and Norman Avenues.
  • Chef is Andrew Whitcomb (formerly of Colonie)

Read on below for two other new indulgences on my radar – an amazing new bakery (and instagram hot spot) and a “treats” shop within the new Kith Emporium. Both opened last week. Also more photos of Restaurant Norman at the end of the feed.

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Sunday Supper Club: Let’s See if This New Tradition Catches On

Sunday Supper Club: Let’s See if This New Tradition Catches On

 

A few years ago, I organized a Sunday Supper Club: Summer Series held every week in the garden of the Standard Hotel East Village (pic upper left). It was my friend Nystrom’s idea – apparently it’s a southern thing. Once the summer passed, however, Sunday Suppers fizzled out.

Now I’m trying to bring them back. Sent out invites for this month’s dinners and fingers crossed there is sufficient interest.

  • Based on early feedback, I’m optimistic this can be turned into a monthly, if not weekly, event.
  • It’s a great way to update and refresh our networks- and it’s fun!
  • If it works out as intended, Sunday Supper will be THE way to kick off the week. Friends will tell friends and people will want to get on the invite list.
  • It may also inspire others to start their own Supper Clubs
  • I’ll report back and let you know how it is working out

Read on below for more details should you want to organize your own supper club dinners.

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Culinary Medicine: Just What the Doctor Ordered

Culinary Medicine: Just What the Doctor Ordered

 

Culinary Medicine has become a hot topic at medical schools over the last few years. It blends the art of food and cooking with the science of medicine.

Tulane University School of Medicine launched the nation’s first culinary medicine program back in 2012. Since then 10 other medical schools have licensed the curriculum.

What we eat has been linked to many of our most prevalent diseases e.g. diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes. Culinary medicine programs provide doctors with invaluable cooking know-how directly tied to health.

  • Providing primary care clinicians with a knowledge base of diet, lifestyle, and nutrition, and how they relate to disease.
  • Teaching modules are from a food-first perspective with an eye toward what patients face day-to-day when trying to make substantive change in their lives.

The American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) is also now offering a new continuing medical education course on culinary medicine and the clinical practice of helping patients use nutrition and good cooking habits to restore and maintain health.

  • Culinary Medicine recipes and cooking techniques follow a high fiber plant-based diet and are achievable with low income to moderate budgets and amid time constraints.
  • In addition to the course, recipes and instructional videos have been made available for all medical professionals and their patients.
  • These resources are helpful for patients who want to start cooking healthy meals at home and need clear examples and demonstrations.

Read on below for more on how interest in Culinary Medicine is spreading around the country based on Tulane’s success.

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Rice & Gold Now Open: Fantastic For Dim Sum Lovers

Rice & Gold Now Open: Fantastic For Dim Sum Lovers

 

Sampled a few dishes at Dale Talde’s newest restaurant, Rice & Gold, last weekend prior to its official opening yesterday (9/28).

I wolfed down the dumplings and pork buns – delicious. I will be back frequently over the next few weeks to try out the full menu. I anticipate this might become one of my favorite go-to’s (as long as reservations don’t become a nightmare).

Here’s what makes it worth checking out:

The vibe and ambiance are outstanding

  • The aesthetic is right up my alley. The street art murals by Mr. Ewok One set the tone – high energy, young, creative.
  • It’ll be a great spot for dinner with a group. It’s a huge restaurant (180 seats). My only concern is it could become super loud – not sure about the noise levels or what kind of music they’ll play. But I am an early diner and if I recall, noise has not been much of an issue at other Talde restaurants.

The food is excellent

  • Although I was there only for the Saturday Breakfast/Lunch menu – it was outstanding: vegetable mapo dumplings with shiitake mushrooms, tofu and soy-chili sauce and candied roast pork buns – delicious.
  • Jae Lee is Rice & Gold’s executive chef (and will also be providing room service for the hotel).
  • Caveat for diehard fans of authentic Chinatown dim sum parlors. Those mystery dumplings and wontons are not generally my cup of tea. I much prefer a more westernized dim sum offering which is what Gold & Rice delivers. So your call!

Service was great

  • Mind you the place was virtually empty since they were still in friends and family mode but every staff person I spoke with was incredibly well-informed about the menu and excited to be working there.

Rice & Gold is on the ground floor of the Hotel 50 Bowery (just below Canal Street). They are taking reservations on Open Table.

See photos below.

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Is Whole Foods Being Turned Into a Hard Discounter?

Is Whole Foods Being Turned Into a Hard Discounter?

 

Anyone else noticing how Whole Foods is getting a little ragtag since the Amazon purchase?

In all fairness, my location is in the midst of a revamp but all the signs point to a hard discounter aesthetic edging out any traces of its former glory days. I’m betting that the new Whole Foods will look more like an ALDI or a Lidl than an Eataly.

  • And it makes sense when you consider how much hard discounters are growing vs. regular supermarkets.
  • The Aldi/Lidl value proposition is gaining traction with consumers worldwide (Lidl is opening 100 stores in the U.S. thru 2018).
  • As of Q2 2017, Kantar data shows hard discounter sales, for the UK, are up 18.9% at Aldi and 17.2% at Lidl vs. supermarket sales up only 4.0% year over year.  (Source: Brick meets Clicks)

Here are a few other developments to consider since the Amazon deal went thru:

  • 25% jump in shoppers since Amazon instituted deep price cuts (Source: Foursquare)
  • 2000 products from the Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value brand were added  to the Amazon web site.
  • They sold out immediately – totaling $500,000 in the first week.

See photos below of Whole Foods, ALDI and Lidl.

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Visiting LA? Need to Eat? Here are 3 Spots Not to be Missed

Visiting LA?  Need to Eat?  Here are 3 Spots Not to be Missed

 

The best restaurant I hit up while in LA last week was The Exchange (416 West 8th Street) at the new Freehand Hotel in DTLA.

  • I had lunch there so can’t vouch for dinner but the Tunisian Sandwich (tuna conserva with preserved lemon, hardboiled egg, potato, olive & chili morita) was one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. They also serve harissa and a house-made green sauce that is sublime.
  • Besides the food, staff is great (ask for Keisha).
  • Finally, the look and ambiance of the entire hotel is wonderful.

Note: While I recommend coming to DTLA for a night out, I would not stay downtown unless I had a very specific reason to do so. Even with a Whole Foods across the street from the Freehand, it still feels sketchy and I would not want to wander around outside.

Read on below for more favorites (as well as a few misses).

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Hey Boomers! Do We Have a Drinking Problem?

Hey Boomers! Do We Have a Drinking Problem?

 

I’ve been drinking less – primarily because I got tired of waking up feeling crappy after a night out. And the older I get, the more motivated I am to making each day fabulous and if that means less alcohol, so be it.

I’d seen many studies reporting that Americans are drinking less. As it turns out, those figures related to millennials who are more sober than we boomers.

  • In one recent study, 52% of millennials reported not drinking at all the previous week vs. only 34% of boomers who reported the same.
  • Many speculate millennials aren’t drinking because they can’t afford it. Cocktailing is chic but expensive.
  • But the problem for boomers is off-premise drinking. As the first generation of home-drinkers, boomers are drinking more than their parents did and their health is starting to suffer as a result.

How many of us stick to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines on drinking: one drink per day for women, two for men??

Experts are suggesting we may need price increases and tighter controls on alcohol promotions to combat this rising tide of alcoholism. Hello, Prohibition – and interestingly, prior to prohibition, the drinking rate was four times higher than it is now.

As to why we’re seeing such an increase in drinking, several of the research studies point specifically to age-related issues (e.g. retirement, bereavement, loneliness) as well as economic reasons:

  • Increasing numbers of people feel pessimistic about their economic chances. This might help explain the increase in drinking among low-income Americans. Economists have linked the economy to so-called deaths of despair from causes including opioid overdoses and alcohol abuse.

Here are some of the most alarming statistics and trends on boomer drinking/drug usage:

  • By 2020, over-50s receiving treatment for substance misuse problems is expected to triple in the US, while doubling in Europe
  • Between 2002 and 2013, the share of Americans who are considered “high-risk” drinkers increased by 30%
  • Heavy drinking is increasing most among the elderly and certain minority groups: Alcoholism among Americans over 65 jumped 107%; among black Americans it rose 93%
  • The number of alcoholic women rose to 9% from 5% in 2002.
  • Many social drinkers “binge” without knowing it e.g. women who drink four or more drinks on an occasion are binge-drinking. What a night out looks like: start with a cocktail, then add wine with dinner. Note: 5 oz counts as a serving, considerably less than the pours at many restaurants/bars

See below for sources and links to studies.

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Gluten-Free at the Dutchess County Fair: Could You Put it on a Stick?

Gluten-Free at the Dutchess County Fair: Could You Put it on a Stick?

 

One last county fair under my belt this past weekend. Very interesting to compare a State Fair vs. a County Fair especially when visiting them within one month of each other.

  • Biggest surprise at the Food Mall at the Dutchess County Fair were the gluten-free offerings.
  • Since neither of those booths attracted many customers, they may have been too trend-forward for fair feasters.
  • Gluten-Free doesn’t scream “Fun” or “Fair” (vs. Iowa’s Pork Almighty!!).
  • But might have a fighting chance if you put it on a stick!

Other food options that caught my eye (pics below):

  • Frozen bananas – one of the most popular items, offered by numerous vendors!!
  • 4-H Milkshakes from the Hudson Valley Fresh Milk Barn – had the longest line, video above
  • Fresh corn on a stick
  • French fries – all kinds of toppings, again a fair favorite
  • PA Dutch Funnel Cakes
  • Pitas/Gyros etc often with a vegetarian option – very popular (as they were in Iowa)
  • Hofbrau Joe’s Clam Box for Fried Seafood (love the juxtaposition of cultures and tastes) – although the booth was never particularly busy

Big thrill for me – aside from the food – was being selected as a judge for the 4-H costume contest for kids and their livestock. I really wanted my 3 little pigs and the big bad wolf to win but my fellow judges weren’t feeling it. If you’re wondering how I was selected for judging, it was that snazzy hat of mine. The top judge just honed right in on it.

And then on Sunday morning, I got to visit the Rhinebeck Farmers’ Market which is fabulous, if a tad spendy $$$. But I was surprised to see how many foods seem to take their inspiration from the Fair e.g. pickle on a stick, sausage on a stick, authentic Mexican tacos and corn tortillas with fresh horchata.

See pics below of this and more.

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