I met Jay Z last night. He’s one of maybe five famous people I’ve ever wanted to meet and I’ve wanted it to happen for 20 years and it happened. I shook his hand and talked to him and you know what? It was the second best part of my night.

Jay Z was bested by a plate of glossy vegetables garnished with edible flowers. And a fistful of pork belly. And lavishly attentive service. Because a couple of hours before I met HOV, I was sitting downstairs at Chef Paul Liebrandt’s brand new restaurant The Elm inside the King and Grove Hotel in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) and it was already one of the best nights of my food-filled life.

Crudites at The Elm

Baby Lettuce, Summer Vegetables, Green Olive-Tuna Crème

I went with a dear friend and business contact from Mosefund Mangalitsa farm, which provides all the exquisite pork we use for Midnight Brunch. Chef Liebrandt, who is my favorite chef in the world, uses Mosefund’s pork in a few dishes on the menu, so she invited me to join her to check it out.We intended just to taste a couple of things but wound up tasting more than a few since Chef was there and his team kept sending nibbles over. The dishes I’m sharing here are ones anyone can order off the current dinner menu and I recommend that you do so quickly and often.

I started with lobster because it’s summertime and I would wear a lobster bikini if I thought it wasn’t a waste to do such a thing. This ish right here is Swiss Chard Agnolotti with Lobster, Corn and Shishito Pepper. The agnolotti is a beautiful pillowy little pasta pocket and I’m sorry you can’t see it in this photo because it’s napping under a cloud of foam.

The foam and other tantalizing visual and textural employs of molecular gastronomy are hallmarks of Liebrandt’s cuisine. I first had his food at a private dinner he did for Epicurious in 2009 and quickly started paying close attention to his work in NYC.

Swiss Chard Agnolotti Lobster, Corn, Shishito Pepper

Swiss Chard Agnolotti Lobster, Corn, Shishito Pepper

Lobster and corn in my face at The Elm.

Lobster and corn in my face at The Elm

Laguiole, an elegant French knife maker.

Laguiole, an elegant French knife maker

We also enjoyed a bowl of chilled avocado soup that came with curry-scented cashews , shrimp and radishes. I now want to add diaphanous discs of radish to everything involving avocado for the rest of forever. No pictures because I was too busy enjoying a tequila and mezcal cocktail and my friend was eating it like it was going somewhere.

I have to pause here and share another Liebrandt story. I closed a big deal at my old company and as a thank you, the president said he would take me to dinner at any restaurant I wanted. I was dying to go to Corton where Liebrandt made his mark in NYC (and which he just recently left). I knew my boss would at least have fun looking at the food whether he liked eating it or not. The meal is #19 on this list (pic).

When our main course arrived last night, it reminded me of that night at Corton in the best way because I was again getting to experience Liebrandt’s food with someone who’d never had it before. The way he plays with color and weight and chemistry in cuisine is nothing short of spiritual. It is the definition of experience.

So, here is the pork belly. It’s a shared plate so that’s two servings (about 3 ounces each) of unctuous pork belly served in a copper saucier, garnished with slender slices of shortbread topped with a tomato and paprika jam and chicharrones. Off to the side under the chicharrones, you’ll see stuffed baby squid who nobly gave their lives so they could be jam-packed with my friend’s delightfully fatty Mangalitsa pork and olives and the devil knows what else. This is the pretty “before” shot.

Pork Belly at The Elm

Pork Belly at The Elm

And here’s the “after” photo. Just kidding. I totally ate all of mine. I don’t want to talk about it – let me have a private moment.

After shot: Pork Belly at The Elm

After shot: Pork Belly at The Elm

Dessert, y’all. This was sent over after we refused the crazy attractive cheese plate and waved away the dessert menu. I didn’t even want to look at the menu because I was afraid something like this might happen. Gold flecked German chocolate brownie creamy oh my God just stop it.

Black Forest, Sour Cherry, Dark Chocolate Brownie, Cherry Kirsch

Black Forest, Sour Cherry, Dark Chocolate Brownie, Cherry Kirsch

Sitting at the bar may get you laid. Very, very laid as you can see the whole floor of the restaurant reflected at you from a one-way mirror in front of you. Rawr.

View of the bar from the upstairs lobby.

View of the bar from the upstairs lobby

Ok, so just go. Check out the menus here. My friend shared a pic yesterday of some insane lobster benedict breakfast situation and I can’t breathe anymore. Just go eat there immediately. I have to go back and have the everything else on the menu and drink the other drinks I haven’t drank yet. Keep scrolling for a money shot.

View from the bar upstairs at The Elm

View from the bar upstairs at The Elm 

There's Jay Z, hugging on his friend at her birthday party. Nice to meet you, Jigga!

There’s Jay Z, hugging on his friend at her birthday party. Nice to meet you, Jigga!

The Elm
160 N 12TH STREET
BROOKLYN, NY 11249
718.218.1088
http://theelmnyc.com/

***

I love sharing details about upcoming tasty trips and adventures, so you won’t want to miss a bite. As always, please feel free to chat with me on Twitter, join our group on Facebook and keep up with new posts here by subscribing. Request an invite to future Midnight Brunch events here (next event is in October).

***

 

 

{ 0 comments }

This week brings us the summer solstice. Despite our wacky temperature swings in NYC as of late, we can no longer deny that summer is here and it is ready to PARTY! To celebrate the occassion, I have a post up on KitchenAid’s new blog where I show you how to make a summer favorite: Gazpacho!

My gazpacho

Here’s a sneak peek: Today, we’re showing you how to get macho with gazpacho, a chilled tomato soup that’s Spanish by birth but can easily be made into your own signature dish with a few tweaks. This is a refreshing summer appetizer that’s perfect for parties and using a KitchenAid® Hand Blender makes it a snap to whip up.

Get the full recipe and a step-by-step photo tutorial on the KitchenAid blog.

***

I love sharing details about upcoming tasty trips and adventures, so you won’t want to miss a bite. As always, please feel free to chat with me on Twitter, join our group on Facebook and keep up with new posts here by subscribing. Request an invite to future Midnight Brunch events here.

***

{ 0 comments }

Photo Recap: Midnight Brunch – Whisky and Meatballs From Around the World Edition

January 31, 2013

Midnight Brunch: Whisky and Meatballs from Around the World took over a DUMBO studio, infusing a cold concrete block of space with the scents of cinnamon, coriander, delicious tomato sauce and, of course, beautiful whisky. This edition of Midnight Brunch was sponsored by Hudson Baby Bourbon Black Grouse Scotch Blend Whisky St. George Breaking and […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Look at this thing we launched!

January 22, 2013

I haven’t talked publicly (very much) about the fact that I’ve joined a second company as a partner and VP. As soon as all the partnership paperwork is signed, I’ll be sharing a lot more! That said, I’ve been a fan of Digital DUMBO since 2009 when I started attending the events. I started consulting with Andrew, […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Your Perfect Thanksgiving Tipple

November 21, 2012

Time to hit the cocktail table! Yes, this time of year can be super stressy. Perhaps you feel this way this year? I don’t drink because I’m stressed, I drink because I love cocktails! And they are truly one of the things I’m thankful for. I am just as (and sometimes even more) passionate about […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Ode to Summer: 2012 #HDMoment Recap

October 25, 2012

I’m back, kids. Last time we spoke, I was hunkering down for a week in the woods by myself and it was absolutely refreshing and terrifying at the same time. So QUIET. I’ve been back for a couple months but have been immersed in A) starting/running aspects of a second company b) hustling hard for […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Gone Fishin’. Back September 4.

August 24, 2012

Photo credit: WanderingtheWorld on flickr Hi MOTB Tribe. Can you believe it’s the end of AUGUST?! I’ve had a happy summer, full of so many great moments and memories. We kicked things off with our Cinco de Mayo Midnight Brunch with Tafari Travel and Mexico Tourism Board on May 4. It was the first time […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Photo Recap: Midnight Brunch x Girl Walk // All Day Edition with Bulldog Gin and Nitehawk Cinema

August 13, 2012

Midnight Brunch x Girl Walk // All Day descending upon Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) last weekend, and we can absolutely guarantee that none of our guests knew what they were really in for. Nitehawk in a very cool film house that shows mainly indie films (with bigger releases being shown from time to time). In […]

0 comments Read the full article →

The Best Things I Ate – July 2012 Edition

August 8, 2012

My life is awesome. Sometimes I have to smack myself to remember this is all real – I eat and drink for a living, and there is nothing that compares to this as a lifestyle. It all whizzes by too quickly; I’ll have an incredible meal that’s bangin’ from the appetizers to the conversation to […]

2 comments Read the full article →

Tales of the Cocktail: Exploring the Unparties of TOTC 12

August 2, 2012

While many of my compatriots from Tales of the Cocktail, the country’s largest festival/conference/TOTALLY NUTTY GATHERING OF THE COCKTAIL KINGDOM, are still recovering, I actually filed my first story on TOTC’s 10 Year Anniversary last weekend. Most of us returned from the five-day festival earlier this week, so I held off a few days on […]

0 comments Read the full article →