F4tF: Miami’s Robert Is Here

A couple of weeks ago, I took a three day weekend to head down to South Beach and points south to get out of NYC for a few days to refresh and recharge as well as see some friends that I usually only see when they come to the Big Apple.  My first post from this trip was F4tF: The Best Burger in America about Le Tub in Hollywood Beach, Florida.  This week’s post is about a place that I had not planned on going to and was only told about after heading somewhere else first. That place was Robert Is Here.

On the second day of my trip (Sunday),  one of the things that was on the agenda was to find a good farmer’s market in the Miami area.  I emailed one of my chef friends who said the place to go was Pinecrest Gardens which was about a 1/2 hour south of Miami and was rated “Best Farmer’s Market In Miami”  in the Miami New Times Best of 2010.  We got in the car, GPS’d the location we were given and headed down to Pinecrest (open Every Sunday, November 7th – May 28, 2011 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.).  My chef friend was right, the selection was beautiful, flavorful and bountiful.

Below are some of the pictures I shot at the market that day:

READ ON for more about Jon’s trip to Robert Is Here…

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F4tF: The Best Burger in America

When I knew that I would be heading down to Miami & South Beach for a three day vacation and some well deserved R&R, I reached out to two people I know down there for tips on places to eat.  One of them is a well known chef who has spent most of his adult life in Florida, the other is the brother of one of my best friends who happens to be in law enforcement.

On the second of my three days down there I met up with my cop friend and his wife for a beer.  He said to me, we have to go this place in Hollywood Beach right on A1A that was voted The Best Burger in America by none other than Alan Richman of GQ Magazine.  If you don’t know anything about who he is, here is all you need to know:

Alan Richman is the most decorated food writer in history. He has won 14 James Beard Journalism Awards, a National Magazine Award (and was a finalist five more times), and a Bronze Star for service in Vietnam. You won’t find food writers like him at the food magazines. When he received his National Magazine Award, the presenter described him as “the Indiana Jones of food writers.” He has reviewed restaurants in nearly every Communist country (China, Vietnam, Cuba, East Germany), proof that he will go anywhere for a meal. He once reviewed the Chicago restaurant owned and operated by Louis Farrakhan, not known to be a fan of Jewish journalists. In Cuba, he defied government regulations by interviewing starving political dissidents, then rewarded himself with a lobster lunch at the most expensive restaurant in Havana. In 1998, Richman was inducted into The James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America, which recognizes culinary industry professionals for their achievements. He is the Dean of Food Journalism at The French Culinary Institute in New York, where he teaches a class in food writing. Richman’s 14 Beard awards have been presented in restaurant reviewing, feature writing, and wine writing. He has also taken the top prize, the M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award, twice. He continues to indulge his passion for eight-course dinners (plus cheese).

The name of the place that we went to was Le Tub.

READ ON to read all about the best burger Jon ever ate…

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F4tF: Let’s Meat in Del Ray

No, there are no misspellings in the title, and no, I am not talking about Delray Beach, FL aka DelBocaVista.  I am talking about Del Ray which is a neighborhood of Alexandria, VA,  a suburb of Washington, DC.  The Let’s Meat part of the title refers to the name of the old world, old school butcher shop I went last to weekend called Let’s Meat on the Avenue which is owned by an old friend of mine Steve Gatward aka Steve the Butcher

I have know Steve since 1999, I believe.  He came in to eat at Jake’s, the restaurant I was running in Guatemala City, Guatemala at the time.  He was working for the Washington Times.   Steve is one of those people you meet who have led a colorful, multi-career life but at some point go back to their roots and become successful and happy.

Here is what his website has to say about his life and background…

“Steve Gatward was born and raised in Colchester, the oldest recorded town in England. He apprenticed for a master butcher near the town square, known for its weekend market. It was there that he learned the importance of purchasing and serving fresh meat from local farmers. In his early 20s, he moved to Australia and after traveling around, he settled in Sydney and fully enjoyed living, “down under.” In the early 1990s, Steve began what became a year long trip around Central and South America. In 1991, he moved to Arizona, where he lived for almost two years. After teaching English in Taiwan, he finally decided to settle in Washington, DC in 1994. He is fluent in Spanish and continues to be an avid traveler, and even though he’s visited more than 80 countries, he travels frequently.

Steve is the co-author of two guidebooks, The Other Side of Sydney, and The Pub, Club and Grub Guide to Washington, D.C. While working for The Washington Times, Steve traveled throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, writing and developing business, political and cultural reports.”

In regards to the quality of the meats he serves, here is what his website has to say about that…

“Let’s Meat on the Avenue is dedicated to becoming Your Neighborhood Butcher Shop. Steve Gatward, the butcher/proprietor, sells pasture-fed, free range and hormone-free meat and poultry at 2403 Mount Vernon Avenue, Del Ray, Virginia.

READ ON for more on Let’s Meat on the Avenue…

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F4tF: Fette Sau’s Dry Rub

Last Saturday, I set off on a journey starting in Queens and ending in the Lower East Side after walking from the Vernon Jackson stop in Queens, over the Pulaski Bridge into Greenpoint for The Total Franklin Street Immersion. I then proceeded to walk from Greenpoint to McCarren Park at which point I went down Driggs to Metropolitan where I realized I was three blocks away from Fette Sau.

If you have never been, it is worth stopping by. In addition to their awesome BBQ, they also boast one the best collections of American Whiskeys and a multitude of craft beer on tap. My lunch was brisket, spicy sausage, broccoli salad and an Arcadia Whitsun Ale on tap.

Here is a picture of their bar:

Fette Sau is old school BBQ. You order either by weight (I got a 1/2 pound of brisket) or by the piece (1 piece of Spicy Berkshire Pork Sausage), by the Side (Broccoli Salad). When I got to the register I saw this mason jar filled with spices and label on the front that said Fetta Sau Dry Rub and a back label that listed the ingredients (including coffee from their neighbor Oslo Coffee) . Once I read that back label I asked how much, the cashier said $10, said fine I’ll take one.

READ ON for more of this week’s Friday For the Foodies…

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F4tF: Nona Brooklyn and More…

I recently stumbled upon a cool website that showcases Brooklyn food called Nona Brooklyn. It is very similar to how FoodCandy is setup but with a focus on restaurants, bars and food stores only located in Brooklyn. You can select which places you want to follow and get updates from (like Twitter). It is a relatively new site but boasts an impressive roster of places on board so far. I already have a list of places I haven’t been to but want to check out after reading about them on the site.

It was through Nona that I found out about Southpaw Presents: 5th Ave Festival this Sunday. Loved this line in the description of the event:

Though billed as a music festival rather than a local-food affair, as with any Brooklyn shindig the Southpaw 5th Ave street fair in Park Slope this Sunday will feature many local food spots like Sixpoint, Bierkraft, and Red Hook Lobster Pound, among others.

Here is the posting they put up on their site on May 10th describing what Nona is and how it is best used..

Use Nona to get food and drink updates from your favorite Brooklyn bakers, butchers, brewers, restaurants, shops, bars and farmers at local farmers markets. NonaBrooklyn is like the sidewalk chalkboards that restaurants, shops and bars use to promote daily specials, but better! Nona pulls all those Brooklyn chalkboards together in one convenient spot that you can check from the office, home, or anywhere to find out ‘What’s Good Today?’ in Brooklyn. Nona is growing – stay tuned as we add lots more favorite local food and drink spots in the coming weeks. Let us know if there’s anyone you’d like to see listed here – just email us at [email protected].

READ ON for more of this week’s F4tF column…

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F4tF: East Harlem + Harlem Food Shopping

Following up on last week’s East Harlem Eats, I thought I’d share a few of the food stores I shop at in East Harlem & Harlem that some of you may not be aware of. Sometimes the place that looks like you might not go in is the place you should have gone into. Here are a few of my favorites:

1) Associated Supermarket – Corner of 96th Street / Lexington Avenue

This is my everyday supermarket. Easy to stop into getting off the 6 train uptown (right next to the building). This Associated is the lowest priced supermarket I have found in NYC while still being clean and having quality products. This market is not fancy by any means but if you shop for and cook basic, simple foods, this is the market for you. It is a little tiny and can be tough navigating the store when it is busy. That being said, if you live in the area, this should be your everyday market as well.

2) El Tepeyac Carniceria & Grocery – Lexington Avenue between 102nd & 103rd Streets

This is a great small Mexican Meat Market. They have the basic cuts, mostly sold by their Spanish names but the product is fresh and very reasonably priced. There is also a Mexican grocery store owned by the same people just up the street.

READ ON for more of this week’s Friday For the Foodies…

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Friday 4 the Foodies: East Harlem Eats

This week I thought I’d take everyone on a visual tour of what I feel is a neglected foodie area of New York City for some people – Lexington Avenue from 96th Street to 104th street in East Harlem. There is a great diversity of foods available on this eight block stretch which also happens to be right on the 6 line with stops at 96th and 103rd street. Live on the Upper West Side? The M96 crosstown bus goes right there.

Here are some of my favorite places to eat in the area:

1) Little Luzzo’s – 119 E 96th St 212.369.2300

Yes, this is the same owners as Luzzo’s on 1st Avenue in the East Village except this one is much smaller and has counter service only with tables to sit and eat but no waiters. While the downtown Luzzo’s has great Neopolitan (round) pizzas, it’s the Siciliana slices at Luzzo’s that I go for. My favorite is the Potato & Gorgonzola which also has mozzarella cheese but no tomato sauce. Other Siciliana options available are Margherita, Sausage, Sausage & Broccoli Rabe, Artichoke, White Pizza, Vegetarian and the Michele (which contains Mozzarella, Prosciutto, Mushrooms, Truffle Pate & basil but NO tomato sauce). Not much ambiance but worth it for the slices.

Here is a picture of the Siciliana display case I took recently.

READ ON for more of this week’s Friday 4 the Foodies…

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F4tF: Fiore’s House of Quality, Est. 1913

As many of you read last week, I talked about some of the great old-school restaurants around my hometown of West Orange, NJ that have been around for decades. Funny thing is the same day I post this story, a friend sends me a picture of him and Buddy – aka The Cake Boss at Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken. My friend Jeff and I go back to when were kids. I asked him if it was worth taking a day trip out to Hoboken in the rain on Saturday. He said yes, but not to go to Carlo’s but to Fiores’s at 414 Adam Street.


The reason why Saturday was the right day is that every Saturday (and Thursday) they sell their special roast beef sandwich with their famous homemade mozzarella and topped (and dipped) into gravy. There was a “right way” to go about getting your sandwich. The Hoboken Guy who like me was a “Fiore’s virgin” documented his experience so well. Read his posting, it is a fun food trip. Along with my sandwich (pictured below)


I also got a pound of their homemade roasted peppers with garlic & one pound of the hot cherry peppers stuffed with provolone & prosciutto (sorry no pix of these, but they are to your left when you walk in). They also do amazing sundried tomatoes. It is about a 15 minute walk from the PATH Station but so worth it. READ ON for more Friday 4 the Foodies…

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F4tF: Two Boots has Max & Mina’s Ice Cream

I was recently at the Two Boots Pizzeria on Bleecker Street between Broadway and Lafayette when I saw a painted ice cream sign on their window. Seems that Two Boots has partnered with Max & Mina’s Ice Cream of Queens to make Cajun inspired flavors for their pizza locations.


As there are many people who read this blog that are annual JazzFest visitors, I have to say that I had the Banana’s Foster flavor and it was great. As you can see on the attached pic, Two Boots has even taken the extra step to suggest their custom slice->Max & Mina ice cream pairings. This is some good stuff, I may have to head out to Queens to check out the original Max & Mina’s in Kew Gardens which is at 7126 Main St, Flushing. I am always out there looking for new foodie discoveries…

Other goings on in the foodie-verse this week

With all of the new food trucks popping up, you knew something was brewing behind the scenes: The NY Times broke the story Tuesday afternoon: Six Arrested in Probe of City’s Food Vendors.

READ ON for more goings on from Jon…

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