Friday For The Foodies

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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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: Soul & Comfort Food @ Edmonds Cafe

Over the last couple of weekends, I have been exploring different parts of Harlem, taking in the nice weather and heading to parts of the neighborhood that I hadn’t been to in a long time. One of the streets that I have been enjoying walking up from Central Park North (110th St) is Lenox Ave aka Malcom X Boulevard. As I was walking, my hunger started building up and it was then that I stumbled upon a hidden treasure, Edmonds Cafe.


The number 1966 in the top left corner is NOT the address of the restaurant, it is the year that this small family owned and run business opened in Harlem. Sure, when you think of Soul Food in Harlem Sylvia’s and Amy Ruth’s come to mind. Those two places are well known, with a large following amongst locals and tourists alike and most times have lines of people waiting to get in.

However when it comes to the real deal, you know the kind of place that people stop in after church or for a quick family meal, my money, palate and hunger keep on bringing me back to Edmonds. My last two trips to Edmonds were both on Sunday afternoons and it was nice to see most of the people who were coming in greeted by their name with the staff/family who own and run it asking questions about their guest’s families, treating them like they are part of the extended Edmond’s family. READ ON for more…

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Friday for the Foodies: Inaugural Posting

Put your hands together for the first column of what we hope will be many from one of our favorite bloggers – Jon Hochstat. I’m on a few mailing lists with Jon and he has an incredible knack for separating the signal from the noise on the internet.

His posts on the now defunct Runaway Dinosaur covered a wide range of topics that always piqued my interest. Jon wrote a food column every Friday for RD and we’re honored to pick up where he left off here at Hidden Track.

Greetings everyone. Welcome to the first posting of my weekly contribution to Hidden Track, Friday for the Foodies. As most of the people who write & read this blog are diehard music fans who go see lots of live music, most of the people are also diehard foodies. I know I am both for sure.

Each week, I will try to bring you what I have found that piques my attention, whether it came from a blog, an RSS feed or Twitter.

This week I have decided to take on the debate over which way is the best way to get information that will satisfy a foodies urge to know what is happening. The old way which is through RSS feeds or the new cool way, which is through Twitter. You decide which of the two provides the information that feeds your foodie cravings. Right now I seem to be getting more from Twitter for sure.

Top Five Foodie Things I Learned via RSS Today:

1. Serious Eats NY brings us NYC Food Events for the Weekend and Beyond, which includes a great event for the weekend:

The Great Greenpoint Mac Off
March 22, 4 to 8 p.m.
Mac and cheese crawlers will hit four Greenpoint bars, each serving samples of hot mac and cheese and cold craft beers. Start at Red Star, then move to The Habitat, Mark Bar, and finally t.b.d. There will be a different drink special at each bar to wash down the cheesy carboload. Red Star is located at 7 Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11222 (map)

READ ON for the rest of Jon’s list of things he learned via RSS and Twitter…

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