A.G. Newsletter #14: Pistachio Cake, Asian Snack Food & Mini-Bar

Hey Subscribers,

A few weeks ago, I decided to visit my old hood Park Slope. Remember when I lived in Park Slope? I lived there for three years; I even wrote this guide of our favorite places before we moved to the West Village.

I hit all my favorite spots--Taro Sushi and Gorilla Coffee--which were both as great as ever. Then I visited The Brooklyn Larder (or Bklyn Larder) where I bought fennel pollen (for a recipe in my cookbook) and a slice of this pistachio cake:

This was a really nice piece of cake; not too heavy (more like a sweet bread; like banana bread or zucchini bread) with a glazed, crunchy top. Actually, the cake reminded me a LOT of the pistachio cake in the River Cafe cookbook that I made once long ago. (That post is so old, the pictures don't even work!)

Let's abruptly change topics and talk about this bag of Asian snack food I bought at the Pearl River Mart in SoHo:

It's very likely that you've had this Asian snack food before. I'm not entirely sure what it is--there are crunchy things, things that taste like seaweed, little wasabi peas--but it's the kind of thing you can put out on the table when your guests arrive to snack on with drinks, which is precisely what I did when I cooked for my brother and his wife Tali on July 4th.

Finally, I spent Wednesday through Friday last week in Washington, D.C. cooking with some truly great chefs. Per my book contract, I'm supposed to keep things secret (that's why I can't tell you who I cooked with; also, it'd spoil the surprise!) so I won't tell you how it came to be that my photographer Lizzie and I were at Jose Andres's Cafe Atlantico on Thursday afternoon and how the chef kindly sent out a few dishes from his celebrated restaurant Mini-Bar (Mini-Bar is just that--a mini-bar--inside the larger restaurant; only it serves an entirely different menu of dishes, dishes much like the ones Craig and I ate at El Bulli).

Lucky for you, Lizzie whipped out her camera and took a few shots of the food we sampled. This is a crispy chicken skin with a caviar cream on top (a play on chicken & eggs):

The skin was crackly, like a great potato chip, and the cream was briny and creamy and rich.

There was this tumbleweed of beet:

This was essentially fried strips of beet tangled together in a ball; it was a very happy, surprising bite.

My favorite dish, though, was this tomato salad with yogurt spheres:

Those tomatoes (cherry tomatoes?) were saturated with vinegar and were deeply acidic (in a good way) and the yogurt spheres (much like the "spherical olive" they give you at El Bulli and that they also recreate at mini-bar) explode in your mouth, giving everything a creamy counterpoint. This is a fantastic summer dish.

And thus ends Newsletter #14. Don't forget to forward this to your friends who love food! They can subscribe by clicking here.

Until next week...

Your friend,
Adam (The Amateur Gourmet)

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