SCOOP DU JOUR is a weekly column by food enthusiast Hannah Howard about eating, cooking, and exploring her way through New York. From a visit with the City’s greatest grocer to discovering the “umami” of love, Fridays are packed with the unique flavor only Hannah can coax out of a culinary experience.
The weekend feels like spring, finally, and the air is full of blossom-smell and promise. He gives me keys to his apartment, and out the window, the pear trees canopy the street. We binge watch The Wire on his Brooklyn Heights couch. “Shit,” we say, with dragged out i’s. He makes me tea and I laugh until it threatens to fly out my nose. Will we love each other, still, when we finish all five seasons?
It’s too nice to sit on the sofa all weekend, tempting as it is. So we walk around Brooklyn, and walk some more, the springtime sun on our faces. How brutal, the winter; how hope-obliterating. Brooklyn looks good all bright and reborn. The reverie has me hungry, and happy, and awake. — in love. Hallelujah.
I’ve lived only in a specific quadrant of Manhattan: 114th street, 95th street, and 142nd street. I am far from home in this much-adored and satirized borough, and I like it. Baseballs swing in Prospect Park. Mommies push strollers through Park Slope. We browse fancy kicks and asymmetrical sweatshirts. We ogle brownstones, and pick out which one we’ll buy when we win the lottery.
Manhattan waves to us from the promenade. We walk to DUMBO, the Brooklyn Bridge a happy roof above us, with our fingers intertwined, quoting Marlo Stanfield. (Jamie Hector lives in Brooklyn Heights, apparently.) I run into a former coworker in Stinky Bklyn, checking out the salami.
We’re thirsty, of course, so we stop for beers at The Brooklyn Inn. The place has been here for more than a century, all carved bar and dark wood, and I’m sure it will outlive us.
We’re hungry, too. La Vara is one of those places where everything is unfairly good. Fried artichokes are wispy light, adorned with a plop of salty anchovy aioli. Crispy eggplant plays well with melty fresh cheese and syrupy honey. Dorade baked in salt arrives, smoky and simple. Our knives puncture the crispy, fatty pig skin, juicy meat, and herby chimichurri…and a bottle of cava, because of course. We’re not above gnawing on the bone.
After, banana chocolate chip ice cream at Farmacy, a cloud of whipped cream on top, we walk home through cobblestone streets, back to the couch; they’re really going to catch Marlo.
The next day, we walk again — Fort Greene, Cobble Hill, and Gowanus. We eat bacon (with fat) and garlicky greens in ICI’s backyard, and brave the mob at Whole Foods.
We splurge for dry-aged rib eye, because why not? At home, we season like we mean it, just sea salt and pepper, and sear it as hot as we can until the fire alarm blares in concession. I caramelize onions, low and slow until they’re candy sweet, and sauté the fancy mushrooms we bought — oysters and maitakes — finished with a knob of butter. Dinner is no joke.
We finish The Wire. I cry a bit, but I’m still in love, and spring is still going strong. And for breakfast: ramp toast and sweet roasted carrots and creamy avocados, the sunrise outside the window.
For more SCOOP DU JOUR, click here.