Visiting old friends in Brooklyn this past weekend, I had the great fortune to sample just a few morsels of what you guys get all the time.... (Thanks Peter Cuce for the last-minute recommendations!)
Delivery from the Chip Shop -- was delighted to see Scotch eggs and jumbo sausage from Myers of Keswick on the menu -- between us three we had chicken and mushroom pie (great) haddock and chips (v. good) and jumbo sausage and chips (just okay, wish it wasn't battered but that was my mistake in ordering.) Despite the fact this food should be eaten as soon as it's not nuclear in temp, getting delivery was just fine. They threw in some malt vinegar and some hot Coleman's (British) mustard too. Very nice indeed.
Lunch at Tacos Nuevo Mexico -- Based on my one experience, I absolutely love this place. We were worried it was going to be swamped with gringos because of the recent 100 best latino restaurants in the Voice, but we were the only whities there early on Saturday. The chilaquiles were very very good (spicy), the chicken in pipian (green mole) was good, cheese enchilladas just okay (I think my friend just ordered a boring dish). But, the rice and beans are great and the plates are garnished ultra-traditionally with radishes and big slices of white onion, crumbly cheese (?) and crema. Had I known to try the pork chalupa I would have... sigh, next time. All super cheap and accompanied by a cold Mexican beer. What's not to like?
Fresh mozzarella from A&S Pork Store -- little knots of fresh mozz marinated in olive oil and fresh herbs (no garlic). I ordered a small container to take away and by the time we were halfway down the block they were all gone. Yes, granted I'm a cheese hound, but these were seriously more-ish. Get them before the place closes (if the rumor is true.) The sausages and other meats looked great, but we were walking around so I didn't stuff any into my cool WNYC tote-bag.
Dinner at Al Di La -- while my friends are NOT hounds, they ARE trendy, so while I had spaced out Peter's other dinner suggestion, they suggested we try either Moutarde or Al Di La, the most popular of the popular neighborhood joints. They had been to Moutarde and liked it very much, but I was inspired and chose the latter, remembering some (I thought positive) chatter on this board. What an amazing call. After a one-hour wait where we bellied up to the bar at Long Tan and had a pretty great Mojito, we were seated in the pretty and cozy -- not claustrophobic -- dining room. **Note -- they fill the room promptly at 6 p.m. and te next turnover is around 7:30. However, if you put your name in, the nice Maitre d (manager? owner?) will call your cell-phone when your table is ready.** We started with a great bagna cauda appetizer, made all the more special by fancy veg. to dip -- fennel, beets, rutabaga. It was lovely with our other shared appetizer of roasted asparagas topped with crumbled hard boiled egg. Mains included two specials, one quail and one whole roasted "mediteranean" fish with the cavity stuffed with lemon and herbs. My other friend had the pork prepared a la saltimboca and I thought it was good, just not as good as the others. My quail was boned, stuffed with wild mushroom, sage, thyme and crouton and served on polenta drizzled with the jus of the little braised bird. It was so very very good I was pleased not to have to share much -- the others were happy with their choices. A few other notes... the bread was GREAT (my bellweather), the wine list included some reasonable Italian reds, and we got out of there at $43 a head with a very generous tip. (I loved the waitress, the young red-head who seems to actually BE a waitress while she's waiting to be a model. She was apologetic when she wasn't right there to pour us more wine, and funny when we joked with her about the pre-mothers' day customer freakiness.) God, how I loved that meal! I thought of a dozen other Boston hounds who would gnaw off their right arm for a neighborhood place like that.
Combine all that with the prospect of getting Di Fara's pizza anytime and Octopus on a Stick and you must be the luckiest lot on earth.