Potato salad is one of those foods that means summer to me. Of course, potatoes are in season pretty much all year round, so there’s no real reason for that — and yet, when I think of potato salad, I automatically think of barbecues, eating outside, laying in the sun. It does, of course, go very well with any kind of grilled meat, and since you can serve it at room temperature it’s an ideal dish for picnics. With outdoor space in short supply in New York, we probably won’t be grilling any time soon (though I have thought about one of those tiny charcoal grills for the fire escape), but I can still make a great potato salad — no grill required.
My mom has been making a version of this potato salad for years, and while I love the creamy mayo-based versions as well, this recipe is really the best. How can you go wrong with bacon and blue cheese?
One of my favorite parts of warm weather, hand’s down, is eating outside. And one of the foods I associate most with eating outside is barbecue. In New York, I’m fortunate enough to be near someexcellentrestaurants, but I had never tried my hand at making pulled pork. It always seemed far too complicated, and I never planned far enough in advance. But one Sunday I woke up, and knew that I just needed some pulled pork. My favorite versions are piled with coleslaw and served with pickles, and I found a recipe that includes both of those in one. The pork itself did take a while and called to be marinated overnight (I marinated it for four hours), but I have seen some great-looking recipes that can just be thrown in a slow-cooker which would make it really easy for a weeknight dinner. Of course, I think the best pulled pork sandwiches have an inherent smokiness from a wood fire, but until I have my hands on a grill, the oven works perfectly well.
I followed this recipe from Food & Wine for the pulled pork exactly, and this recipe from Bon Appétit for the slaw, which I modified slightly by adding 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar for more acidity and 1/2 cup mayo for creaminess. Serve sandwiches on a picnic table with a cold beer, slathered in barbecue sauce.
Also, I’m very excited to announce that I am collaborating with my friend Max, who started the amazing site Wine & Bowties. It is pretty much the go-to site for everything that’s cool in music, art, style and culture, and I am incredibly excited to begin a recipe series with them. My first recipe (the guacamole that I posted here) went up on Monday night, and you can look for more new recipes every couple of weeks. Wine & Bowties also has a ton of other fascinating content, so be sure to check out their other features as well.
I’m pretty sure that trying to be a vegetarian is an obligatory part of any Wesleyan student’s education. And many, I’m sure, succeed. I attempted to be a vegetarian the first semester of my freshman year and was actually pretty successful — until Thanksgiving, that is. The turkey, ham, and my mom’s excellent stuffing were just too much. Ah well. I don’t think it was meant to be anyways — I love barbecue and fried chicken FAR too much to try to give that up. Not that I’m knocking those who do choose to be vegetarian — I actually quite enjoy tofu and I think that in many cases the environmental impact of eating meat can be too much.
However, this is not a post about the moral implications about eating meat. Rather, this is a post about excellent barbecue, at a marvelous place in Williamsburg called Fette Sau. Not vegetarian friendly — you literally order meat by the pound. Options are limited, but that’s alright with me. All of the meat is smoked for hours on location (a rare feat in NYC), and you can choose from a few options and rotating sides. Go with the brisket, pulled pork, and ribs. Just trust me. For sides, the German-style potato salad is a perfect foil for the smoky meat, and the baked beans are cooked with the burnt pork ends, making them wonderfully smoky and hearty. The meat is served with doughy rolls and the long tables are scattered with various barbecue sauces, including a spicy one and one laced with mustard. Fette Sau (which, appropriately, means Fat Pig in German), also has a great whiskey selection and multiple beers on tap to wash down your meal. Go on a night when you can sit outside, as the four long inside tables are always packed. You’ll know you have arrived when you smell smoky, succulent pork wafting onto the street — and how can anyone resist that?
(Clearly, not me, since I went twice in the span of a week.)
I’m not quite sure how this happened, as I come from Minnesota — land of lutefisk, not so much of barbecue. But somehow, over the last year or so, I have become kind of obsessed with southern food. This isn’t really a new trend, especially in NYC where (lucky for me and Ari) there are tons of great options for barbecue and fried chicken. (I mentioned a few in a previous post). However, I’m always looking for options that don’t necessitate getting on a train, and that’s where Little Brother comes in.
It opened last winter in a tiny, industrial space on the strange wasteland of Atlantic Avenue and Clinton Avenue next to the excellent Hot Bird bar. The first time I went was in January, and it was freezing. Even with our mild winter, we ate with our coats on. However, the food certainly helped warm us up, and their simple menu is the perfect length to order a few things to share. I’m a fan of the barbecue chicken and barbecue pork sandwiches (always with extra spicy barbecue sauce), which comes with pickles and vegetable slaw on top. The prices are reasonable enough to warrant ordering a couple of sides, of which I highly recommend the french fries (though I may be biased. I could eat french fries every day. Seriously) These, however are a whole different ball game. After they are fried, they coat them in the same spice rub they use to marinate the meat, and the result is a sweet-spicy-tangy kick that complements the crispy fries perfectly. The collard greens are very good as well, although i thought they could have used a little more flavor. Overall, a great place to go when you want a cheap dinner and don’t wnat to venture too far from your apartment (at least for me). An added bonus: in warm weather, you can order the food to eat at Hot Bird and enjoy it outdoors with a cold beer next to their fire pit.