allswell

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Seared Scallops & Farro with Allswell Chef Nate Smith

Nate Smith is running late. I’m hovering near the bathroom at his gastropub Allswell on a weekday morning in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, while Smith plans the day’s menu. The corner isn’t the worst place to wait – it’s outfitted with natural wood and patterned Wes Anderson-lite wallpaper. But I should have seen it coming. In a restaurant where the offerings change near-daily, menu meetings take top priority.

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We buy most of our produce directly from farmers at Union Square Greenmarket and through two small companies that work with family owned farms in upstate New York and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Our general sourcing philosophy is to buy from local, small, family-owned farms and organic wherever possible.

When the winter comes around we start craving citrus.  And persimmons.  And pomegranates.  And avocados.  And, well, you get the idea.   Just because they can’t be local doesn’t mean we’re going to sacrifice buying directly from small, organic farms.  And in comes California Family Farms - a produce company that goes directly to small farmers between San Diego and San Francisco and buys the best of the best.  Some farms are as small as a few acres and all of the farms are organic.  So for the winter months when local offerings are slim we’ll be featuring some gorgeous California produce.  We like knowing the name of the guy who grew our avocados (it’s david) and why our fuyu persimmons taste so phenomenal (it’s a method called dry-farming).  Even though we’re not talking to these farmers at the market, we still feel a strong connection to the produce we’re getting.  And that’s what it’s all about. 

ALLSWELL IN WILLIAMSBURG

Spotted Pig alumni, chef Nate Smith opened his new restaurant and bar in Williamsburg earlier this week inside the former digs of Raymund’s on Bedford Avenue. The new, brightly colored gastropub-style venue called Allswell serves “a bar-centric menu that should change dramatically throughout the week with dishes like shellfish stew, fried tripe, potted pork, and corned beef and cabbage pie,” reports Eater.com. It’s anyone’s guess whether or not savory bites, like anchovy fritters, will draw the A-list celebrity crowd that the Spotted Pig does, however, for now, it’s going to start out as a dinner-only spot, but will add lunch, brunch, and late-night service soon. Allswell that ends well, or in this case is just beginning.

Allswell over at Eater.com

Photo via Eater

RICOTTA

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat over med high heat.

1 Gallon Milk

2 Cup Heavy Cream

Occasionally, stir and scrape the bottom of the pan so milk does not settle and scald.

Heat milk until 150-160 degrees, or until you can leave your finger in it for only a second.

Once milk has heated, add

1/3 Cup plus 1 TBS White Distilled Vinegar,

Stirring only once to make sure the vinegar and milk are mixed through.

Leave mixture undisturbed. You will begin to see curds breaking off from the milk.

Once milk solids have fully separated, you will see a raft of curd form on top of a pool of clear-ish whey. This process will take place around 180 degrees.

Turn off heat.

With a slotted spoon carefully skim the newly formed curd, making sure to not scrape the bottom of the pan. There may be curds that have stuck to the bottom of the pot that will have a toasty flavor and scrambled egg texture - you don’t want to mix those into your ricotta.

Place the curds in a cauldron set over a bowl to drain out more whey. Discard what remains in the sauce pan.

If done correctly, you should have about 1 qt of ricotta.  Once cool, you can adjust the desired texture, by folding the whey back into the ricotta. If you prefer a drier ricotta discard the whey altogether.

Let cool, then enjoy!

We use ricotta in so many dishes - as stuffing for squash blossoms, in cakes, egg dishes at brunch or served with good olive oil and sea salt to accompany toasty bread. It’s truly wonderful to know how to make, you can add sugar or honey for sweetness, or sea salt, herbs and olive oil to keep it savory.

Hey, yo. Meet All’s Well! They are a band originating from Northeast Ohio.

Last night they won a competition and are advancing to the final round of the battle of the bands! Do me a solid and check them out. You won’t be sorry.

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It has been a pretty amazing birthday week long celebration. Started out with dinner with the fiance at El Almacen … we then had dinner the next evening at Allswell with my best man … and tonight my sister came to visit and we all met up with some of my other friends to have fantastic BBQ at Fette Sau, drinks at Spuyten Duyvil and desert at Momofuku Milk Bar. Tomorrow I’ll spend the day with the fiance at the Natural History Museum, and then dinner with another friend.

I feel extremely grateful to have had such a great couple of days and being able to spend it with some of my favorite people … and thank you so much llw for planning it all. =D

THE GLUTTON'S HIT LIST: Epilogue

Not sure about you, but the past week’s hit list made us hungry and we wanted to get right down to business, without a moment to waste.  Unfortunately, we targeted a couple of the ‘just opening’ establishments on the list, and they weren’t quite ready for us.  Here’s what we learned…

We stopped by SAUCE on Rivington & Allen one afternoon this week, but apparently it was one afternoon too early.  We entered the place about an hour before it opened for dinner, only to find that it was closed.  Owner, Frank Prisinzano, greeted us personally amidst the chaos of a new establishment trying to find its rhythm, and kindly explained that they were only open for dinner during their first week, but that they were about a day away from unveiling lunch service and the retail butcher counter.  Nevertheless, the glass case featured a cornucopia of carnivorous loveliness, and the best part is that the butchers can be observed through the plate glass window on Rivington Street as they manhandle massive cow and boar carcasses in preparation for public consumption, as exemplified in the beautiful vision below.  Vegetarians might want to stick to the south side of the street when strolling down Rivington from hereon in.  Sadly, we walked away from SAUCE empty handed this time, but we’ll be back, along with our appetite.

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(The butchers at newly opened SAUCE in full view of Rivington Street passersby)

Last night, after jamming out at BROOKLYN BOWL with STEVE KIMOCK and special guests, WALLY INGRAM, BERNIE WORRELL and BOBBY VEGA, followed by the rock and roll antics of 30 piece circus punk marching band, MUCCA PAZZA, we strolled by the very new, ALLSWELL on Bedford and N. 10th Street to see what was happening in the highly anticipated gastropub.  It was lively inside well after midnight, but unfortunately the place was closed for a private party.  Rather than crash the party during opening week (and truthfully, more food and drink was not needed at that point of the night, even for THE GLUTTON), we just snapped a photo from outside, mainly with the intention of reading the specials on the blackboard.  Here is what we found:

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(Through the looking glass at ALLSWELL)

Seems like the kids are having a fun time, but what is that we see on the menu?  If our eyes aren’t deceiving us, it says “Pork Faggot w/ Lentils - $22.”  I don’t think we are naive, uninformed, or politically correct, but this would be our first encounter with a “Pork Faggot."  According to Wikipedia, "Faggots are a traditional dish in the UK, especially South and Mid Wales and the Midlands of England.It is made from meat off-cuts and offal, especially pork.  A faggot is traditionally made from pig’s heart, liver and fatty belly meat or bacon minced together, with herbs added for flavouring and sometimes bread crumbs. The mixture is shaped in the hand into balls, wrapped round with caul fat (the omentum membrane from the pig’s abdomen), and baked."  Thank you, Nate Smith, for bringing your Faggots to the neighborhood.  Things have certainly changed around here since Raymund’s occupied this space.

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(Enlarged view of ALLSWELL’S Pork Faggot on the menu)

Here’s an epilogue to the Epilogue…we continued another block down Bedford Avenue in our state of bewilderment over the menu at Allswell, and we noticed that things were particularly calm and quiet for a Saturday night in the heart of the 'Burg.  It quickly became clear that this was at least partially due to the fact that the infamous corner dive, THE TURKEY’S NEST had been SHUTTERED!  Gates down, no note, no eviction notice, no letter to loyal customers, no health department violation sticker (shockingly).  No rowdy drunks, no stench of stale beer, nobody urinating on the sidewalk.  We don’t know if the TURKEY’S NEST is closed permanently or if the Turkey has just flown the nest for a brief vacation, or dare we suggest…renovations, but we caught a group of distraught swill seekers in a devastated state of shock upon learning of the situation.  We continued strolling along contemplating just how drastically the neighborhood really has changed.

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(Has THE TURKEY’S NEST flown the coop for good?)


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Feline fun with Job. @timageries @lexihade #CatUpdate #AllsWell 😸😺 (at Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood)

GLUTTON for QUINCIPLE!

QUINCIPLE.COM is a new service that offers a box of wonderful, carefully selected food items delivered to your door by cargo tricycle once a week. It costs about fifty bucks, and it is currently only available in a few Manhattan neighborhoods, but expanding rapidly!  It has only been up and running for about a month, so now is the time to get excited about this promising new venture that will have you eating well, enjoying your time in the kitchen, and supporting small farmers and purveyors, both locally and throughout the country.

The only negative thing I can think to say of QUINCIPLE.COM is that I have a really hard time remembering its name. So I need a technique…the ‘Q’ is easy to remember, and it rhymes with “Principle.” But there is time to sort this out, since QUINCIPLE does not yet deliver to Brooklyn, which is its only other downside at the moment.  The big upside is that this box of goodness is curated by someone who really knows good food and where to find it.  KATE GALASSI has been the “forager” for April Bloomfield’s West Village gastropub, THE SPOTTED PIG and for Williamsburg offshoot, ALLSWELL, opened by Bloomfield protege, Nate Smith at the end of 2011.  In this role, she has functioned as the liaison between farmers and chefs for establishments that put an exceptional amount of care into the ingredients that they use.  The bottom line is that Kate knows where to find the good stuff, and instead of riding around town hitting all the farmers markets on her own bicycle with a refrigerator box and turning the bounty over to a couple of high profile chefs like she used to, she is now putting it in a cardboard box and having it delivered it to your door by REVOLUTION RICKSHAWS every week!

Now, I know what you’re thinking…this sounds like another pretentious foodie gimmick where you’re going to drop fifty bucks a week on a bunch of esoteric produce that you don’t know what to do with.  On the contrary, the beauty of QUINCIPLE is in its simplicity.  Each box comes with a beautifully designed, full color pamphlet featuring information on each ingredient, including its source of origin, storage tips and helpful hints about how to prepare it.  Additionally, the box includes recipe cards that feature simple recipes that can be prepared using multiple ingredients in the box and little else.  Here’s the thing…these are not fancy recipes that only appeal to hipster foodies, but delicious and thoughtful idea starters that rely only on the quality of the ingredients to dazzle your palate. 

Each box contains one protein, at least one grain, some milk and/or cheese, fruits, vegetables, greens and herbs.  It will not complete your food shopping for the week, but it will comprise the bulk of a few meals, and unlike other weekly CSA type programs we’ve explored in the past, you will find that by the end of the week, you have actually made good use of everything in the box and enjoyed it fully, mainly because it’s that good. 

Our box featured a 1lb skin-on, bone-in chicken breast from the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative in Leola, PA; a pound of beautiful Rainbow Carrots from REMEMBERANCE FARM in Trumansburg, NY; gorgeous little Ruby Crescent Potatoes from MOUNTAIN SWEET BERRY FARM in Roscoe, NY; a bunch of Thyme from MUDDY RIVER FARM in New Hampton, NY; and a 1lb bag of Brown Jasmine Rice from CAJUN GRAIN in Kinder, Louisiana, among many other things.  I followed the enclosed recipe card to use these ingredients to make an outstandingly delicious “Chicken Soup with Rice” with no ingredients beyond the box other than an onion, a few tablespoons of Olive Oil, and salt and pepper!  As hard as I try, I can’t find anything silly or pretentious about this whatsoever.

The best part is that half the carrots and potatoes were left over, which I roasted a few days later, along with a spectacular Butternut Squash from FISHKILL FARMS in Hopewell Junction, NY that was also included in the week’s booty.  Half the rice remained as well, which we used to compose another meal within the week. To accompany the soup, we couldn’t resist a few slices of the sizeable half loaf of Miche from Brooklyn’s own BIEN CUIT BAKERY in Cobble Hill.  The rest of the bread was consumed for breakfast a few days later with one of the incomparable Hass Avocados in the box from CALIFORNIA FAMILY FARMS in Westlake Village, CA as prompted by an almost absurdly simple recipe provided for “Avocado Toast." 

There were other breakfast treats in the box including one of the most fantastic Red Grapefruits I’ve ever eaten from CEE BEE’S CITRUS in Odessa, FL, a few Blood Oranges from SOMERS RANCH in Somis, CA, and two Granola Bars from Brooklyn based EARLY BIRD FOODS.  To round off the cornucopia of deliciousness, QUINCIPLE also included a fresh and flavorful ¼ lb bag of Mixed Greens from BODHITREE FARM in Jobstown, NJ, a sinfully sweet quart of non-homogenized Whole Milk from ITHACA MILK CO. in Seneca Falls, NY, and the one item we’ve yet to consume, a ¼ lb log of Chevre from VERMONT BUTTER & CHEESE CREAMERY in Websterville, VT.  This is not a problem, however, because as long as it remains unopened, the goat cheese will keep for another two months.

As Kate puts it, "not everything is sourced locally, but it’s all transparent,” so if the best avocados in the country are coming from a small farm in California and the best grapefruits from an orchard in Florida, you can benefit from the fact that she knows where to acquire them, and you can enjoy these items that are included in the box alongside the local produce, all of which is delivered to your door by bicycle.  The real beauty of this is that even though we don’t reside in The Upper West Side, Chelsea, West Village, East Village or the West Side of Lower Manhattan, and we can’t get the weekly box unless we move to one of those neighborhoods, the joy that has been bestowed upon us by QUINCIPLE.COM permeates the way we think about food beyond the box.  Just this weekend, at the local farmers market in Williamsburg, we were excited to find rainbow carrots and fingerling potatoes with the hope of replicating the  delicious roasted veggies we made from those that Kate selected for us. 

Join QUINCIPLE.COM by Sunday to receive that week’s box on Thursday evening between 6pm and 9pm, and every subsequent Thursday thereafter.  The website lists the contents of the box each week, so there are no surprises (unless you like it that way and avoid checking the site), and you can request that orders be withheld for weeks in which you don’t want them, for whatever reason.  As this company grows, not only will the delivery zone expand throughout the city, but Kate hopes to offer add-on staple items that can be selected on the website in a manner not unlike Fresh Direct…only much, much better.

Get in on the ground floor of this new delivery service that will awaken your palate, excite your culinary instincts, and fill your belly with some of the best ingredients available in America.  It’s kind of like having a personal grocery shopper with the highest standards imaginable who forages for the best stuff anywhere, armed with a fifty dollar bill and a bike.  If you reside in 10003, 10011, 10012, 10013, 10014, 10023, or 10069, consider yourself lucky.  The rest of us will just have to keep dreaming and checking the website weekly.

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